King Corn says 2019 a year of "relearning" lessons

posted on Monday, January 13, 2020 in Current News

By Hoosier Ag Today

Purdue's Top Farmer Conference 2020

At Purdue’s Top Farmer Conference on Friday put on by the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture, Dr. Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist, discussed what you can takeaway from 2019 to apply in 2020. He says it was tough to really learn anything from the unique weather year we had in 2019, but it certainly should have been a good reminder of a few things for corn growers.

With yields coming in much better than expected, he says one reminder should have been the importance of hybrid selection.

“Not just for identifying hybrids with good yield potential, but maybe more importantly than we ever have done before, also looking for evidence of their ability to tolerate stress. And that’s going to require a lot of close discussion with the seed dealers to basically… show me show me evidence that it’s a good stress tolerant hybrid and have asked those kinds of questions. Clearly, differences in hybrids this year for stress tolerance were easily 30-40-bushel consequences.”

Another reminder: late planting, by itself, is not a kiss of death for your corn crop.

“It certainly increases the risk for low yields, but it doesn’t guarantee low yields, and we saw this time and time again. On a statewide basis, at least as of the last report I saw, the statewide yields are only going to be about 5 percent below the historical trend. That’s not disaster. It’s disappointing, but it’s not a disaster.”

Indiana’s corn yield in Friday’s USDA report came out to be 169bpa. The report also showed a surprise bump in national corn yield to 168bpa.

Since it isn’t a kiss of death, should you be focusing more on getting your soybeans in earlier come planting time? Nielsen discusses that, the “new normal” for weather, and the impacts of soil compaction in 2019 in our full interview heard by clicking the play button below.