Hybrid selection is one of the most important agronomic decisions a farmer makes in corn production. The purpose of the Michigan Corn Performance Trials is to evaluate corn hybrids for yield and other important agronomic characteristics. Results of these trials 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. Hybrids that consistently perform well over multiple locations or years in a region are desirable because next year’s growing conditions are uncertain.
In 2021, the Michigan Corn Performance Trials program evaluated 217 corn hybrids representing 17 commercial brands. These hybrids generated 320 entries, resulting in 3,840 plots at 12 grain trial locations and nine silage trial locations across the state of Michigan. Corn grain trials were comprised of 231 entries. Corn silage trials realized a total of 89 entries, with one of the silage locations conducted in Ohio’s Wood County in conjunction with the Ohio State University. The conventional grain trials were comprised of 29 entries.
Michigan corn grain trial locations are divided into four zones based upon historical growing degree days. Three locations are planted within each zone. Hybrids are grouped into early and late maturities within each zone based upon hybrid relative maturity as provided by participating seed companies. Table 1 provides the zonal averages for percent moisture, yield in bushels per acre, test weight, percent lodging and percent stand.
|Table 1. Zonal summaries for early (E) and late (L) grain trials in the 2021 Michigan Corn Performance Trials. Each data point represents 12 replications (three locations per zone, four reps per location). Conv denotes conventional corn grain trials.|
|Zone||Entries||% Moisture||Bushels per acre||Test weight||% Lodging||% Stand|
|Zone 1 E||38||19.6||218.0||55.9||2.8||96.2|
|Zone 1 L||31||21.0||232.1||55.0||1.6||96.2|
|Zone 2 E||30||20.2||220.6||55.3||0.3||99.1|
|Zone 2 L||25||21.3||216.5||54.5||32.3||100.2|
|Zone 3 E||32||21.5||214.0||54.8||2.6||96.5|
|Zone 3 L||24||23.5||216.9||53.4||1.1||97.0|
|Zone 4 E||8||23.8||199.8||52.7||0.5||94.4|
|Zone 4 L||14||26.0||221.7||52.3||2.0||91.5|
Similarly, corn silage locations are divided into three zone with zones 2 and 3 combined into one trial. Again, the hybrids are grouped into early and late maturities within each zone based upon provided relative maturities. Table 2 summarizes the zonal averages for percent dry matter, green tons per acre, dry tons per acre and percent stand.
|Table 2. Zonal summaries for early (E) and late (L) silage trials in the 2021 Michigan Corn Performance Trials. Each data point represents 12 replications (three locations per zone, four reps per location).|
|Zone||Entries||% Dry matter||Green tons per acre||Dry tons per acre||% Stand|
|Zone 1 E||17||40.5||24.4||9.8||96.8|
|Zone 1 L||15||36.4||27.9||10.1||97.0|
|Zone 2/3 E||22||43.9||20.8||8.8||96.8|
|Zone 2/3 L||20||33.6||31.5||10.6||96.8|
|Zone 4 E||10||32.7||30.8||10.1||94.4|
|Zone 4 L||5||30.5||34.6||10.5||90.1|
Confidence in corn hybrid performance data increases as the number of testing location increases. One-year single-site results are less reliable than multiple year and multiple location averaged and should be interpreted with caution. Look for consistencies in hybrid performances across a range of environmental conditions when selecting a hybrid for production.
Complete results of the Michigan Corn Performance Trials including Michigan State University Extension bulletin E-431 from 2021 and previous years can be found online at MSU Variety Trials and MSU Cropping Systems Agronomy Bulletins. Hard copies of this bulletin will also be available with the December 2021 issue of Michigan Farm News.