Kansas Corn, in conjunction with K-State Research and Extension, conducted a Kansas Corn Yield Contest for the 2019 growing season. This contest was free to enter and was open to all corn producers in Kansas that were active members of the Kansas Corn Growers Association. The objectives of the contest were:
- Recognize high-yielding Kansas corn farmers.
- Improve crop management practices and increase efficiency for greater sustainability and profitability.
- Share data collected among Kansas farmers and provide tips for improving management practices.
A large concentration of the fields was located in northeast and northwest counties (Figure 1). Other fields were located in the remaining districts across Kansas.
Figure 1. Field locations for high-yield corn contest entries. Dryland (23 entries), Irrigated (19 entries).
Summary of Results
- Average yield entry for the plot yields for dryland was 193 bu/acre, while for the irrigated group was 234 bu/acre (Table 1). Yields ranged from 132 to 295 bu/acre.
- Average yield of the entire fields was 166 bu/acre for dryland and 251 bu/acre for irrigated fields (Table 1).
- For dryland entries, yield increased with the decrease in longitude (from 102 to 94°W). This could be partially explained by the delay in planting date when moving from east to the west across Kansas. For yields <200 bu/acre, yield for the plot portrayed a larger yield than for the entire fields.
Table 1. Mean, minimum, and maximum grain yield of plot (area harvested for contest) and entire fields for irrigated and dryland corn fields (bu/acre). Graphic by KSU Crops, K-State Research and Extension.
- Crop management
- Corn hybrids represented four different seed companies.
- Average seeding rate was 28,955 seeds/acre varying between 16,000 and 40,000 seeds/acre.
- 70% of the fields implemented 30-inch row spacing.
- Soybean was the most frequent previous crop (+50%), followed by corn and wheat.
- 62% of the farms conserved the residue of the previous crop, 35% grazed it, and 3% harvested residues.
- 62% of the farms planted corn under no-till, 22% strip-tillage and 16% other tillage practices (e.g., disk, vertical, chisel).
- From the irrigated farms, irrigation amounts when from 3 to 24 inches, with the most frequent amount placed on 6 inches (50% of all entries with irrigation).
- A majority of the corn received (88%) received both pre- and post-emergence herbicide.
- For pest management, 55% of the corn received both fungicide and insecticide applications, 41% received only fungicide application, and 4% only insecticide application.
- 80% of the corn received starter fertilizer, N fertilization average 166 lb N/acre, P fertilization 39 lb P2O5/acre, and K fertilization averaged 30 lb K2O/acre.
- Grain yield and N fertilization were positively related. with yields increasing 0.5 bu/acre per unit of N applied (lb/acre).
- None of the farmers reported iron deficiency.
- Lime was applied to fields (6%), manure application (4%), and a combination of lime and manure (4%).
Yield Environments Summary
- Average grain yield increased 30% from low (163 bu/acre) to medium (231 bu/acre) and 17% from medium to high (278 bu/acre yielding environments (Table 2).
- Crop management
- Average seeding rate increased from 22,625 to 33,875 seeds/acre from low to high yielding environment (Table 2).
- Irrigation adoption was clearly a factor for the medium and high yielding environments (ranging from 52 to 88%) versus a low level of irrigation adopted (8%) for the low yielding environment (Table 2).
- Most of the low and medium yielding fields (~85%) used both pre- and post-emergence herbicides, while all of the entries reported to have used both pre- and post-emergence herbicides for the high yielding environments (Table 2).
- A greater proportion of the fungicide was reported to be applied as the yield environment increased (39%, 52%, and 63% for low, medium, and high yield environments, respectively) (Table 2).
- A lower amount of P and K fertilizers were applied in low yielding fields (17 and 12 lb/acre of P2O5 and K2O, respectively) compared to medium yielding fields (58 and 48 lb/acre of P2O5 and K2O, respectively) (Table 2).
- Average rate for fertilizer N application increased by 28% from low to medium yielding and by 13% from medium to high yielding corn contest-winner entries (Table 2).
Table 2. Summary of grain yield, crop management practices, and fertilizer strategies for different yield categories (low, medium, and high yield). Graphic by KSU Crops Lab, K-State Research and Extension.
In summary, different management practices affect corn grain yield. Results from the 2019 Kansas Corn Yield Contest indicated that the use of irrigation, a balanced fertilization program (N, P, and K), seeding rate above 30,000 seeds/a, use of fungicides, and both pre- and post-emergence herbicides were all management practices implemented by farmers to maximize corn grain yields in Kansas.
Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist
Dale Fjell, Director of Research and Stewardship, Kansas Corn
Josefina Lacasa, Undergraduate Research Scholar, KSUCROPS lab
Luciana Nieto, Graduate student, KSUCROPS lab
Corn Yield Contest