This morning, I conducted several population/emergence checks on the 2020 “Competitive Seed Comparison Plot”. See attached photos of the various hybrids. In conducting the check for emergence, I first looked at our side trial where we planted one uniform hybrid at four different populations; 30K, 35K, 40K, and 45K. I checked the emergence of the 35K and 45K populations this morning in an area of the trial that has stayed wet due to the 3.5+ inches of rainfall received on the plot field since April 21 planting date. Note, this emergence check is in the east part of the plot field that has a shallow swale that is slow to drain. The population trial runs through the swale with better drainage on either end. Overall, in the 35K population, we have good emergence and could count 31K good plants emerged for 88% emergence. Our 45K population trial had slightly better percent emergence at 93%, but as expected a bit more competition which will likely thin down the emerged plants slightly.
To conduct a population check, you measure off in a row a length of 17′ 5″ with a tape measure, representing 1/1000 of an acre. Place a flag at either end of the 17′ 5″ and then place a flag on each part of the strip that either is a skip, a double plant, or a late merge plant. Count the rest of the plants and multiply by 1,000 to get the estimated emerged population of the trial. Flags are left in the field for each emergence check so we can go back in 7-10 days and see how close we are on estimated emerged plants per acre.
In today’s emergence check, in addition to checking the uniform population check hybrid at the 4 differing populations, I also checked 3 random hybrids (Beck’s, Burrus, and Golden Harvest) to see how they looked now at 22 days post-planting. Through yesterday, the plot accumulated 178 Growing Degree Units (G.D.U. units). At the first sign of plant emergence early last week (May 6th), the plot reached 125 G.D.U’s (sometimes referred to as Growing Degree Days–G.D.D.). From now thru tassel stage, based on accumulated G.D.U.’s, we should see fairly rapid vegetative growth. Follow the plot blogs for updates, especially as warmer temperatures come our way helping to add up the units. All three hybrids had excellent emergence with the individual % emerged of 91% to 97%, despite the tough conditions the plants had had to endure including a flirt with frost over the weekend and very slow heat units accumulation.
At this first population check roughly 2 weeks after planting, we are not yet evaluating the benefits of the biologics applied in-furrow at planting. As we progress through the growing season, we can easily evaluate the benefits of the additives on the plant health, root development, and vigor. Check back often for updates and more detail.