2015 WISCONSIN CORN HYBRID PERFORMANCE TRIALS
Grain - Silage - Specialty - Organic
Joe Lauer, Kent Kohn, and Thierno Diallo
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Every year, the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the University of
Wisconsinâ€“Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences conduct a
corn evaluation program in cooperation with the Wisconsin Crop
Improvement Association. The purpose of this program is to provide
unbiased performance comparisons of hybrid seed corn for both grain and
silage available in Wisconsin.
In 2015, grain and silage performance trials were planted at 14
locations in four production zones: the southern, south central, north
central, and northern zones. Both seed companies and university
researchers submitted hybrids. Companies with hybrids included in the
2015 trials are listed in Table 1.
Specific hybrids and where they were tested are shown in Table 2.
A summary of the transgenic traits tested in 2015 is shown in Table 3.
A summary of seed treatment performance in 2015 is shown in Table 4. In
the back of the report, hybrids previously tested over the past three
years are listed in
Table 24. At most locations, trials were
divided into early and late maturity trials based on the hybrid relative
maturities provided by the companies. The specific
relative maturities separating early and late trials are listed in the
GROWING CONDITIONS FOR 2015
Seasonal precipitation and temperature at the trial sites are shown in
Table 5. The 2015 growing season was similar to
the 30-year normal from most of the season. A slight drought occurred in
early August, but otherwise temperature, growing degree-day
accumulation, and precipitation was normal. The planting season
progressed quickly with all plots established by early May. Northern
corn leaf blight developed along the southern two tiers of Wisconsin
counties. A wind event in early July caused significant lodging in
southern Wisconsin. Isolated incidents of Antrhracnose induced lofging
have been reported in northern Wisconsin. No significant insect damage
was observed. Beautiful weather was experienced during harvest with many
locations having lower grain moisture than typical. Record grain and
silage yields were measured. Test weight was lower than normal.
The seedbed at each location was prepared by either conventional or conservation
tillage methods. Seed treatments of hybrids entered into the trials are described
in Table 4. Fertilizer was applied as recommended
by soil tests. Herbicides were applied for weed control and supplemented with cultivation
when necessary. Corn rootworm insecticide was applied when the previous crop was
corn. Information for each location is summarized in Table
A precision vacuum corn planter using GIS technology was used at all locations, except Spooner. Two-row
plots, twenty-five foot long, were planted at all locations. Plot were not hand-thinned.
Each hybrid was grown in at least three separate plots (replicates) at each location
to account for field variability.
Grain: Two-row plots were harvested with a self-propelled corn combine. Lodged
plants and/or broken stalks were counted, plot grain weights and moisture contents
were measured and yields were calculated and adjusted to 15.5% moisture. Test weight
was measured on each plot.
Silage: Whole-plant (silage) plots were harvested using a tractor driven,
three-point mounted one-row chopper. One row was analyzed for whole plant yield
and quality. Plot weight and moisture content were measured, and yields were adjusted
to tons dry matter / acre. A sub-sample was collected and analyzed using near infra-red
Table of Contents
Companies entering hybrids
Temperature and Precipitation
Arlington, Janesville, Lancaster
Early Maturity Trial: 105 day or earlier
Late Maturity Trial: later than 105 day
South Central Zone
Fond du Lac, Galesville, Hancock (irrigated)
Early Maturity Trial: 100 day or earlier
Late Maturity Trial: later than 100 day
North Central Zone
Chippewa Falls, Marshfield, Seymour, Valders
Early Maturity Trial: 90 day or earlier
Late Maturity Trial: later than 90 day
Marshfield, Spooner (three sites), Coleman
Arlington and Lancaster
Early Maturity Trial: 110 day or earlier
Late Maturity Trial: later than 110 day
South Central Zone
Arlington and Galesville
Early Maturity Trial: 106 day or earlier
Late Maturity Trial: later than 104 day
North Central Zone
Chippewa Falls, Marshfield, Valders
Early Maturity Trial: 99 day or earlier
Late Maturity Trial: later than 99 day
Marshfield, Spooner (two sites), Coleman
South Central Zone
Fond du Lac, Galesville, Hancock
North Central Zone
Chippewa Falls, Marshfield, Seymour, Valders
Specialty - Conventional
Arlington, Janesville, Lancaster
References to transgenic traits in this publication are for your
convenience and are not an endorsement or criticism of one trait over
other similar traits. Every attempt was made to ensure accuracy of
traits in the hybrids tested. You are responsible for using traits
according to the current label directions of seed companies. Follow
directions exactly to protect the environment and people from misuse.
Failure to do so violates the law.
PRESENTATION OF DATA
Yield results for individual location trials and for multi-location averages are
listed in Tables 7 through 22. Within each trial, hybrids are ranked by moisture,
averaged over all trials conducted in that zone during 2015. Yield data for both
2014 and 2015 are provided if the hybrid was entered previously in the 2014 trials.
Starting in 2009, a nearest neighbor analysis of variance for all trials as described
by Yang et al. (2004, Crop Science 44:49-55) and Smith and Casler (2004,
44:56-62) is calculated. A hybrid index (Table 2)
lists relative maturity ratings, specialty traits, seed treatments and production
zones tested for each hybrid.
Seed companies use different methods and standards to classify or rate the maturity
of corn hybrids. To provide corn producers a "standard" maturity comparison
for the hybrids evaluated, the average grain or silage moisture of all hybrids rated
by the company relative maturity rating system are shown in each table as shaded
rows. In these Wisconsin results tables, hybrids with lower moisture than
a particular relative maturity average are likely to be earlier than that
relative maturity, while those with higher grain moisture are most likely
later in relative maturity. Company relative maturity ratings are rounded
to 5-day increments.
The Wisconsin Relative Maturity rating system for grain (GRM) and silage (SRM)
compares harvest moisture of a grain or silage hybrid to the average moisture of
company ratings using linear regression. Each hybrid is rated within the trial and
averaged over all trials in a zone. Maturity ratings (company, GRM, and SRM) can
be found in Table 2.
GRAIN PERFORMANCE INDEX
Three factors-yield, moisture, and standability-are of primary importance in evaluating
and selecting corn hybrids. A performance index (P.I.), which combines these
factors in one number, was calculated for multiâ€‘location averages for grain trials.
This performance index evaluates yield, moisture, and lodged stalks at a 50 (yield):
35 (moisture): 15 (lodged stalks) ratio.
The performance index was computed by converting the yield, moisture (dry matter), and upright
stalk values of each hybrid to a percentage of the test average. Then the performance
index for each hybrid that appears in the tables was calculated as follows:
Performance Index (P.I.) = [(Yield x 0.50) + (Dry matter x 0.35) + (Upright
stalks x 0.15)] / 100
SILAGE PERFORMANCE INDEX
Corn silage quality was analyzed using near infra-red spectroscopy equations derived
from previous work. Plot samples were dried, ground, and analyzed for crude protein
(CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), in vitro cell wall
digestibility (NDFD), in vitro digestibility (IVD), and starch. Spectral groups
and outliers were checked using wet chemistry analysis.
The MILK2006 silage performance indices, milk per ton and milk per acre,
were calculated using an adaptation by Randy Shaver (UW-Madison
Department of Dairy Science)
of the MILK91 model (Undersander, Howard and Shaver; Journal Production Agriculture
6:231-235). In MILK2006, the energy content of corn silage was estimated using a
modification of a published summative energy equation (Weiss and co-workers, 1992;
Animal Feed Science Technology 39:95-110). In the modified summative equation,
CP, fat, NDF, starch, and sugar plus organic acid fractions were included along
with their corresponding total-tract digestibility coefficients for estimating the
energy content of corn silage. Whole-plant dry matter content was normalized to
35% for all hybrids. The sample lab measure of NDFD was used for the NDF digestibility
coefficient. Digestibility coefficients used for the CP, fat, and sugar plus organic
acid fractions were constants. Dry matter intake was estimated using NDF and NDFD
content assuming a 1350 lb. cow consuming a 30% NDF diet. Using National Research
Council (NRC, 2001) energy requirements, the intake of energy from corn silage was
converted to expected milk per ton. Milk per acre was
calculated using milk per ton and dry matter yield per acre estimates
(Schwab, Shaver, Lauer, and Coors, 2003; Animal Feed and Science
LEAST SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE
Variations in yield and other characteristics occur because of variations in soil
and growing conditions that lower the precision of the results. Statistical analysis
makes it possible to determine, with known probabilities of error, whether a difference
is real or whether it might have occurred by chance. Use the appropriate LSD (least
significant difference) value at the bottom of the tables to determine true differences.
Least significant differences (LSD's) at the 10% level of probability are shown.
Where the difference between two selected hybrids within a column is equal to or
greater than the LSD value at the bottom of the column, you can be sure in nine
out of ten chances that there is a real difference between the two hybrid averages.
If the difference is less than the LSD value, the difference may still be real,
but the experiment has produced no evidence of real differences. Hybrids that were
not significantly lower in performance than the highest hybrid in a particular test
are indicated with an asterisk (*).
HOW TO USE THESE RESULTS TO SELECT TOP-PERFORMING HYBRIDS
The results can be used to provide producers with an independent, objective evaluation
of performance of unfamiliar hybrids, promoted by seed company sales representatives,
compared to competitive hybrids.
Below are suggested steps to follow for selecting top-performing hybrids for next
year using these trial results:
- Use multi-location average data in shaded areas. Consider single location
results with extreme caution.
- Begin with trials in the zone(s) nearest you.
- Compare hybrids with similar maturities within a trial. You will need to divide
most trials into at least two and sometimes three groups with similar average harvest
moisture-within about 2% range in moisture.
- Make a list of 5 to 10 hybrids with highest 2015 Performance Index within each maturity
group within a trial.
- Evaluate consistency of performance of the hybrids on your list over years
and other zones.
- Scan 2014 results. Be wary of any hybrids on your list that had a
Index of 100 or lower. Choose two or three of the remaining hybrids that have relatively
high Performance Indexes for both 2014 and 2015.
- Check to see if the hybrids you have chosen were entered in other zones.
(For example, some hybrids entered in the Southern Zone Trials, Tables 6 and 7,
are also entered in the South Central Zone Trials, Tables 8 and 9).
- Be wary of any hybrids with a Performance Index of 100 or lower for 2014
or 2015 in any other zones.
- Repeat this procedure with about three maturity groups to select top-performing
hybrids with a range in maturity, to spread weather risks and harvest time.
- Observe relative performance of the hybrids you have chosen based on these trial
results in several other reliable, unbiased trials and be wary of
any with inconsistent performance.
- Consider including the hybrids you have chosen in your own test plot,
primarily to evaluate the way hybrids stand after maturity, dry-down rate, grain
quality, or ease of combine-shelling or picking.
- Remember that you don't know what weather conditions (rainfall, temperature)
will be like next year. Therefore, the most reliable way to choose hybrids with
greatest chance to perform best next year on your farm is to consider performance
in 2014 and 2015 over a wide range of locations and climatic conditions.
You are taking a tremendous gamble if you make hybrid selection decisions based on
2015 yield comparisons in only one or two local test plots.
OBTAINING DATA ELECTRONICALLY
This report is available in Microsoft Excel
and Acrobat PDF formats at the Wisconsin
Corn Agronomy website: http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu.
current version of
Wisconsin Corn Hybrid Performance Trials (A3653) is also available to download
as a PDF or purchase
as a printed booklet at the UW Extension Learning Store: http://learningstore.uwex.edu.
For more information on the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association, visit:
Copyright Â© 2015 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin
System doing business as the division of Cooperative Extension of the University
of Wisconsin-Extension. All rights reserved. Send copyright inquiries to: Cooperative
Extension Publishing, 432 N. Lake St., Rm. 227, Madison, WI 53706,
Authors: Joe Lauer is professor of agronomy, Kent Kohn is corn
program manager in agronomy, and Thierno Diallo is research specialist
in agronomy, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lauer also holds an appointment with UW-Extension, Cooperative Extension. Produced
by Cooperative Extension Publishing.
Photo credit: Sevie Kenyon, UW-Extension outreach
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WISCONSIN HYBRID CORN PERFORMANCE TRIALS-2015 (A3653)