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Published November 12, 2012, 10:13 AM

ND irrigated corn hybrid hits yield milestone

What do you get when you combine the latest in corn genetics and a sunny summer on an irrigated field in southeast North Dakota? A nearly 310-bushel-per-acre yield — assuming you have a top-notch corn agronomist.

By: Mikkel Pates,

FARGO, N.D. — What do you get when you combine the latest in corn genetics and a sunny summer on an irrigated field in southeast North Dakota?

A nearly 310-bushel-per-acre yield — assuming you have a top-notch corn agronomist.

Blaine Schatz, director of North Dakota State University’s Carrington (N.D.) Research Extension Center, credits the achievement to Walt Albus, lead agronomist at the Oakes (N.D.) Irrigation Research Site, a substation of the Carrington station.

Schatz says this is the first time he knows of that a hybrid exceeded the 300-bushel mark in university trials in North Dakota.

“This represents research-based documentation, on all four replicated fields at Oakes,” Schatz says. Albus has been working in Oakes for decades and employs enhanced crop management techniques of fertility, water management and plant populations, says Schatz, who supervises the station.

“It’s how you use the imports that allows you to realize the hybrid’s potential,” Schatz says.

The Oakes trials have been going for more than 40 years. Albus has been at the Oakes irrigation research site for most of that time.

Schatz says more than 60 hybrids were on trial this year at the Oakes site. The average yield across all of the hybrids was about 267 bushels per acre. The performance test is a remarkable achievement because not many years ago, the top yields were about 200 bushels per acre.

Albus says the year came together for irrigated corn.

“Even though we had excessive heat, we were able to apply enough water,” he says. “Some years, like in 1988, you can keep up with the water, but the heat takes its toll. This year, we came under the wire for heat stress.”

This is an outstanding year for even dryland corn yields, with some private testing indicating more than 280 bushels on dryland fields in the Colfax, N.D., area, Albus says.

Albus says he is interested in the fact that the Dairyland brand hybrid that came in with a 286 bushel per acre yield was a non-Roundup Ready, non-Bt insect-protected variety. He says that means the underlying corn genetics are improving, even without the genetically-modified protections. He says it also might mean there are enough genetically modified (GMO) crops around that the non-GMO hybrids are getting less pressure from pests.

The No. 1 yield in the trial was G2 Genetics with the 3H-399 hybrid, averaging 309.5 bushels in four replications. Second in the trial was Dairyland Seed, with DS1803 hybrid, 286.2 bushels per acre. Third was Garst’s 89T43 hybrid, at 285 bushels per acre.

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