On Saturday evening, June 6th, I walked the First Harvest Farm Management, LLC “Competitive Seed Comparison Plot” completing a second evaluation of plant stand and plant health on three of our representative hybrids (Beck’s, Burrus, and Golden Harvest). For uniform comparison purposes, these are the same three hybrids and same areas of the field I flagged and evaluated in the May 13th blog post. In that evaluation, flags were placed in a representative row for each hybrid, first marking off 1/1000 acre. Individual flags were then placed to mark any “skips” where there was no emerged plant as well as to mark any “stunted plant”, or a plant not emerging at the same time as its’ neighbors, or held back in early vegetative growth for any reason. This is significant because plants that fall behind, or emerge later than adjoining plants will often remain at a disadvantage through out the growing season, especially as the adjoining plants increase in vegetative growth and capture the available sunlight limiting the productivity of the stunted plant. An individual plant that has fallen behind often will not catch up to the neighboring plants and fail to produce an ear, or put on a smaller ear. In the extreme case, the plant will eventually fall far enough behind that it will die off and leave a void in the row.
This year, the plot has been challenged due to the excessive early growing season moisture, with small areas of the field that retained excessive moisture showing delayed plant vegetative growth when compared to the balance of the field. This is a common occurrence across the Corn Belt this year, and until the fields canopy, closing off sunlight to the bare ground, the drowned out areas and areas with delayed plant growth are quite observable. Larger areas of delayed plant growth often will catch-up in vegetative growth as long as the plants can capture adequate sunlight, although smaller areas and individual delayed-growth plants will often not catch-up as explained below.
In the population check completed on the 6th, the Beck’s Hybrid reflected a population of 33,000 emerged plants/acre, or 97% emerged population, with 3 stunted plants that likely will reduce the number of ear development on the 1/1000 acre check. In our next population check in about 2 weeks, we’ll take into account two plants that were run over by the sprayer tires, plus the stunted plant, reducing the viable plants to 30,000 plants/acre for this hybrid. This check included the MycoApply biologic, and the plant health in these 4 rows was quite good despite the small areas of excessive moisture holding back plant health and vegetative growth for this hybrid. The photo below shows the Becks hybrid at a measured population of 33,000 plants/acre.
Our second population/plant health check involved the Golden Harvest hybrid with a population of 32,000 plants per acre, or 94% emerged plants/acre. this 1/1000 acre contains 2 delayed-growth plants and 1 skip. The 4 rows of this population check includes the Accomplish LM biologic product. This hybrid is in the part of the field with the least impact from the excessive moisture areas of the plot field. The photo below shows the Golden Harvest hybrid at an average of V-4 to V-5 in plant growth.
Our final population check is the Burrus hybrid at 32,000 emerged plants/acre, or 94% emerged plants. This 1/1000 of an acre contains 2 skips and one delayed-growth plant. The biologic in this 3rd population check is also Accomplish LM. Like the Beck’s hybrid, this area of the field has small areas of slow drainage of excessive moisture, holding back overall plant growth and vigor as compared to areas of the field not impacted by excessive moisture.
Overall, the plot looks better and better each day as we are rapidly accumulating G.D.U.’s. From planting date of April 21st thru June 5th, the plot has accumulated 596 G.D.U.’s. Previously, on May 21st, the total G.D.U.’s were 330, or an average G.D.U. accumulation of 11 units/day. Factoring only the G.D.U. accumulation from May 21 thru June 5, the additional G.D.U. increase is approximately 17 units per day, a big improvement due to warming daily high temperatures. Finally, with the very warm temperatures since the first of the month, the plot is accumulating an average of 20 G.D.U.’s/day, rapidly promoting plant development and vegetative growth.
Below is the current (June 7, 2020) Vegetative Map of the First Harvest plot as taken by satellite from Climate Corporation. Indicative of the delayed accumulation of G.D.U.’s, the majority of the plot is reflecting low to moderate vegetative index levels. As vegetative growth in the individual plants increases for the plot, future vegetative index maps will reflect higher indexes and more uniformity over the plot acres. For reference purposes, the plot comprises the northern 2/3 of the 22 acre field, with the south line of the plot roughly equal to the green vegetative lines running east to west across the plot field.