Plotting for success
MFA Retail Precision Manager Jared Harding gives a hands-on demonstration of best management practices in planter setup and how to diagnose equipment issues.
Senior Staff Agronomist Scott Wilburn discusses timing and management of early and late-planted soybeans.
During the 2023 Training Camp field day, MFA Director of Agronomy Doug Spaunhorst leads an interactive session on weed management in corn.
MFA’s research fields are harvested with a specialized plot combine designed to capture accurate yield data in the replicated trials.
In 2022, MFA agronomy research included corn hybrid and soybean variety trials in Boonville, Mo., pictured here, and another site just outside Columbia.
The experimental MorCorn hybrid 2141 had the second-highest yield in the lineup tested in 2022. The impressive hybrid will be available in the 2024 seed portfolio as MC 4390.
The 2022 growing season is nearly a year behind us, but its challenges have not escaped memory. While the year was drier than average, our MorCorn and MorSoy lineup still produced outstanding yields in all 14 locations from which we collected data. Presented here are results from last year’s yield trials at MFA research sites in Boonville, Mo., and just east of Columbia.
Both sites are on a corn-soybean rotation. In Boonville, corn plots were planted May 12, 2022, at a population of 32,500 seeds per acre, and soybeans were planted June 13 at a population of 140,000 seeds per acre. The corn was fertilized with SuperU at planting with 300 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre. Since this is a testing site, we push the nitrogen fertilization to attempt to eliminate the possibility of this nutrient being a limiting factor that affects yield. These research fields are located in the Missouri River bottoms, where the soil is well-drained silt loam.
At our research site east of Columbia, corn was planted on May 16 at a population of 32,500 seeds per acre, and soybeans were planted on June 16 at a population of 140,000 seeds per acre. The corn was fertilized with SuperU at 180 pounds of actual nitrogen per acre. This site is an average-yielding location situated on clay pan soils that are poorly drained.
The 2022 growing season presented many of the same weather challenges that we’ve seen so far this year. While both locations were dry, they were not excessively hot through the entire summer. Boonville began the season 2 inches behind on rainfall, whereas Columbia was near normal to start. However, both sites ended well below the average cumulative precipitation for the May to October time period. By the end of the season, our research site east of Columbia was 6.5 inches behind normal, with Boonville 12.2 inches behind. The lack of rainfall reduced disease pressure at both locations. Except for excessive heat during June in Boonville, both research sites followed the average high and low temperatures fairly well last year. Timely rains in mid to late July helped produce typical yields in both corn and soybeans.
In the 2022 growing season, a total of 26 hybrids were tested across MFA’s territory, including 17 experimental products under consideration as additions to the lineup. Two hybrids that caught our attention were XP 2141 and XP 2152. We are excited to bring both to market for the 2024 growing season.
XP 2141, now formally named MC 4390 TRE, showed off in 2022 as a very attractive late-season product that offers excellent above-ground insect control stacked with the Trecepta® trait, which combines three unique modes of action for more complete control of above-ground pests.
Looking at the data in Figure 1, MC 4390 TRE outperformed our current lineup of late-season products at both locations. It yielded well with average productivity on our site just east of Columbia and excelled on the rich river bottom ground in Boonville.
XP 2152 is now officially MC 4412 TRE, another MorCorn option with Trecepta® insect protection. MC 4412 TRE is a highly productive hybrid in a variety of yield environments. In fact, across all MFA replicated trial sites in 2022, this product earned the highest average yield.
We are also excited about MC 4652 VT2P, a full-season product launched in 2023. This product has great late-season appearance with excellent grain and silage potential. When bringing new products into our portfolio, we focus on their ability to produce in a variety of yield environments and soil conditions. MC 4652 VT2P does not disappoint.
Our hybrid trials are now underway for the 2023 growing season, and we look forward to gathering yield data on 18 different experimental corn products from across MFA’s trade territory. This challenging season has brought many learning opportunities, including high winds and drought conditions, along with a new trial in gumbo soil.
In the 2022 growing season, a total of 40 MorSoy varieties were tested across MFA’s territory. These trials included 25 experimental varieties that we were considering for our product lineup.
Of these experimental varieties, XP 2408 advanced to our portfolio as MS 4623 XF. It replaces our previous 4.6 maturity XtendFlex variety, MS 4640 XF, beating its yield by 6 bushels per acre at our Boonville research site and performing better at our other replicated plots last year. Along with an increase in yield, MS 4623 XF also has a better agronomic package than its predecessor.
XP 2307 is our new 3.9 XtendFlex product, officially entering the portfolio as MS 3965 XF. This variety led the pack in yield at the East Columbia site and ended up being the top yielder of all the late Group 3 XtendFlex varieties that we tested last year. This product is suitable for tough acres as well as highly productive ground and is considered a place-anywhere type of bean in MFA territory.
XP 2401 became our new 4.1 XtendFlex product, MS 4130 XF. This product exhibited a strong performance and had the best yield at Boonville. MS 4130 XF is best suited on moderate- to high-yield environments.
For the 2023 growing season, we will gather yield data on 22 different experimental soybean varieties from our trade territory. Again, the challenges of the season will also provide learning opportunities. We will have a chance to see how the broad planting timing and drought conditions affected their performance. We also added a soybean trial in gumbo soil this year. Results from the 2023 trials will be presented in future editions of Today’s Farmer and available from your MFA agronomy specialists.
View the digital edition of this issue online at todaysfarmer.com for videos and additional content related to MorCorn and MorSoy seed. (Coming soon.)
New season of study
While results of MFA’s 2022 variety and hybrid trials are presented in this edition of Today’s Farmer, the studies continue for the 2023 season at MFA’s Training Camp research site as well as other replicated plots across our trade territory.
This year’s annual field day was held July 19 at a new testing location about 15 miles east of Columbia, Mo. More than 270 MFA employees and ag industry personnel toured the site and learned about the research at 10 different educational sessions. The event gives attendees an opportunity to get hands-on participation in MFA’s testing and product evaluation process.
In addition to yield trials on MorCorn, MorSoy and our partner brands, 2023 sessions included planter setup and diagnostics, fungicide effectiveness, sulfur needs, weed management in corn and native warm-season grass establishment. Other research considers how field conditions influence corn yield, how to manage early and late-planted soybeans and whether biologicals improve nitrogen-use efficiency.
Look for results and more information on MFA’s most current agronomic research in upcoming issues of Today’s Farmer and online at mfa-inc.com.
CLICK HERE to read more articles from this August/September 2023 issue of Today's Farmer Magazine.
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