2021 OHIO ORGANIC CORN PERFORMANCE TEST

R.J. Minyo, A.B. Geyer, Horticulture & Crop Science,
M. Lowe, M. Sword, Farm Operations and D.G. Lohnes, Information Technology
Ohio State University Extension/Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center

The purpose of the Ohio Organic Corn Performance Test (OOCPT) is to evaluate certified organic corn hybrids for grain yield and other important agronomic characteristics. Results of the test can assist farmers in selecting hybrids best suited to their farming operations and production environments. Corn hybrids differ considerably in yield potential, standability, maturity, and other agronomic characteristics that affect profitable crop production. Hybrid selection should be based on proven performance from multiple test locations and years. The presentation of data does not imply endorsement of any hybrid by The Ohio State University.

EVALUATION PROCEDURES

Seed companies marketing organic corn hybrids in Ohio are invited to submit hybrids for evaluation. In 2021, companies were permitted to enter an unlimited number of hybrids and an entry fee is charged to cover operating expenses. The tests were conducted on certified organic fields at Apple Creek (West Badger Farm) and Wooster (Fry Farm) in Wayne County and were intensively managed for nutrients and weed control. Each hybrid entry was evaluated using four replications per site in a randomized complete block design. Hybrids were planted either in an early or full season maturity trial based on relative maturity information provided by the companies. The relative maturity of hybrid entries in the early maturity trial were 106 days or earlier; the relative maturity of hybrid entries in the full season trial were 107 days or later. Hybrids were planted with an Almaco Seed Pro 360 vacuum plot planter with SkyTrip GPS. Each plot consisted of four 30-inch rows 25 feet long with the center two rows utilized for data collection. The planting rates and target final stands are determined by known field history and yield goals. Soil amendments were applied according to recommended cultural practices for obtaining optimum grain yields. Details concerning the establishment and management of each 2021 test are listed in footnotes below the tables.

SITE INFORMATION

SITE APPLE CREEK APPLE CREEK (PLANT DATE #2) WOOSTER
SOIL TYPE CANFIELD SILT LOAM CANFIELD SILT LOAM CANFIELD SILT LOAM
SOIL TEST (pH,P,K) 5.9, 49, 136 6.2, 61, 163 6.7, 69, 265
PREVIOUS CROP ALFALFA RED CLOVER OATS/RED CLOVER
PLANTING /HARVEST DATES JUNE 1 / DEC 4 JUNE 17 / DEC 4 JUNE 11 / DEC 5
TILLAGE CONVENTIONAL TILLAGE CONVENTIONAL TILLAGE CONVENTIONAL TILLAGE
NUTRIENTS APPLIED (N,P,K) M-3 ppm 43, 63, 200 42, 0, 0 42, 0, 0
COOPERATOR MIKE SWORD / KEN SCAIFE, OARDC MIKE SWORD / KEN SCAIFE, OARDC MIKE SWORD / KEN SCAIFE, OARDC
COUNTY WAYNE WAYNE WAYNE

MEASUREMENTS AND RECORDS

YIELD. The center two rows of each plot were harvested with a self propelled two row picker sheller combine. Yields were reported as bushels of grain per acre (Bu/A) at 15.5 percent moisture.

MOISTURE (HARV MST). A grain moisture determination was made from each plot with an electrical conductance moisture meter. Grain moisture was reported as percent grain moisture.

LODGING (STK LDG). The number of broken stalks in each plot was determined just prior to harvest. Only those plants with a stalk broken below the ear were considered stalk lodged. Stalk lodging was reported as a percentage of final plant stand.

FINAL STAND (FINAL STD). Seed corn producers selected a desired planting rate for each hybrid entered. Differences between the planting rate and the final stand may be attributed to seed quality and/or environmental conditions present. Populations were reported in hundreds (100/A) per acre.

EMERGENCE (EMG). An emergence count was made on each plot after plant emergence. The emergence percentage was computed based on the number of plants and the number of seed planted, and was reported as a percentage of the seeds planted.

TEST WEIGHT (TW). Test weights were recorded in pounds per bushel on grain samples at field moisture. The results are an average of all sites in the regional tests.

LSD 0.10 - Least Significant Differences at probability level 0.10 (LSD 0.10) are reported for yield and other agronomic characteristics. Differences between hybrids are significant only if they are equal to or greater than the LSD value. If a given hybrid out yields another hybrid by as much or more than the LSD value, then we are 90% confident (i.e. the odds are 10:1) that the yield difference is real, with only a 10% probability that the difference is due to chance variation (such as soil variation, etc.). For example, if Hybrid X is 19 Bu/A higher in yield than Hybrid Y, then this difference is statistically significant if the LSD is 19 Bu/A or less. If the LSD is 20 Bu/A or greater, then we are less confident that Hybrid X is really higher yielding than Hybrid Y under conditions of the test. If ‘NS’ is indicated for a characteristic, then the differences among hybrid entries are not significant at the 10% probability level.

2021 GROWING CONDITIONS

Wet/cool soil conditions in early May delayed field preparations and planting. The Organic OCPT fields were planted in early to mid-June into conventionally tilled fields with good soil moisture. The warm and moist soils conditions were favorable for uniform emergence and early growth. Rain events in July and August were timely with minimal crop stress during pollination and early grain fill. September rains promoted grain fill, added TW and sites finished strong. At the Apple Creek location for planting date #1, total rainfall was 21.2” and 2669 GDD planting thru harvest. Low to moderate levels of Gray Leaf Spot could easily be found in the lower canopy with a few NCLB lesions present. Southern Rust appeared late in the season and did not impact yields. Low levels of Diplodia and Gibberella were observed in a few hybrids.

RESULTS

In 2021, Organic OCPT yields were exceptional and exceeded expectations. Averaged across hybrid entries in the early and full season tests, yields were 201 bu./A. Yields at individual test sites, averaged across hybrid entries in the early and full season tests, ranged from 174 bu./A - Apple Creek (Plant Date #2), 211 bu./A - Wooster to 218 bu./A at Apple Creek (Plant Date #1). The planned Lindsey site in Sandusky County was not planted in 2021 due to saturated soil conditions from late-May through mid-June. An additional field was planted, Apple Creek Plant Date #2, to compare hybrid response to planting dates, soil amendments and field management.

Results of the 2021 testing program are presented in Tables 1 and 2. The 2 & 3 year averages for the Apple Creek location are presented in table 3. The seed source and table location for hybrids are shown in Table 4. The seed treatments associated with each hybrid entry (information provided by seed companies) are indicated in Table 4. Yields and other agronomic performance characteristics have been averaged across the individual test sites and shown under the SUMMARY heading for each maturity group. Hybrids are listed in alphabetical order by brand.

Confidence in test results increases with the number of years and the number of locations in which the hybrid was tested. Look for consistency in a hybrid's performance across a range of environmental conditions. Yield, standability, grain moisture, and other comparisons should be made between hybrids of similar maturity to determine those best adapted to your farm.

Acknowledgments:Thank you to the organic seed industry for their contributions and supporting the hybrid testing program. We are grateful for the assistance provided by Matt Lowe, CFAES Research Operations at Wooster; Mike Sword and the Farm Operations team assisting with field operations; and Ken Scaife, OSU-OARDC Wooster.

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