Excess rain was the main determining factor affecting yields in the Farmers’ Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) Seed Tests.
Joe Bruce, general manager of FIRST Seed Tests, said yields were generally higher as the tests went further north and received less excess rain early during the early growing season.
He said sites in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio had issues with excessive rains that affected results of the yield trials. (See the FIRST 2015 Yields insert for details.)
In Illinois, some soybean sites were planted very late. In Southern Illinois, Bruce says the Greenville and Du Quoin locations were planted after July 4.
The Du Quoin location had an average yield of 37 bushels per acre and Greenville had
48 bu./acre. The same varieties planted near Belleville had an average yield of 67 bu./acre.
Those areas that got planted were still affected by rain, which kept soils cool and wet and seedlings struggled, Bruce said.
In areas of excess rain, regional managers noted the plants were shorter than normal.
In Northern Iowa, some soybean planting stretched until late May. Bruce said excess rain caused some weed-control issues, especially in soybeans.
“More bean sites had weed control issues than corn sites,” he says.
Excess rain caused application timing issues. Bruce said there could be glyphosate-resistant issues emerging in some fields. All the varieties in the FIRST Seed Tests are glyphosate-resistant.
Bruce says since tests are replicated three times at a location, they can still get good data, despite weed-control issues. They throw out data that is affected by issues other than genetic differences in soybean varieties.
After wet conditions, the weather turned dry and produced some good yields, especially in areas without excess rain early on. The location near Hull, Iowa, replicated plot yields over 75 bu./acre. For Northern Iowa, yields were 10 percent higher than the 10-year average.
The dry fall weather allowed test locations to be harvested in a timely matter. In some areas, the dry fall caused regional managers to wait for a rain to harvest to elevate grain moisture.
While the season got off to a wet start, the corn plots in the FIRST program had good yields.
“Yields are very good,” said Bruce.
Test managers in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri reported the corn crops were planted, then there was rains in May and June, causing some plants to get off to a slow start. In areas with more rainfall, test managers said the soil was wet and cool and caused seedlings to struggle in the fields.
Wet weather also caused issues with weed control in some fields. The test managers noted the presence of disease, including northern corn leaf blight.
Generally, they reported good weather conditions during pollination and grain filling time. in East Central Illinois, the dryness from July to September meant limited corn kernel depths.
Fall weather allowed the corn to dry down and lead to a speedy harvest.
Bruce said they record moisture at harvest and correct the yields to 15 percent.
They try to harvest corn between 18-20 percent moisture.
He said some farmers wanted the test managers to wait for more dry down before they combined the grain.
Farther north, farmers were more willing to have higher moistures because they have systems to dry the grain, he said.
Across the states, yields were good in areas that didn’t flooded out, he said.
In Northern Iowa, the test sites reported the highest yields the FIRST trials have recorded over the past 10 years.
Yields ranged from 13 to 16 percent over the 10-year average yields for the region.
Farmers reported high yield variation within fields, noting their tiled acres had better yields. Bruce explained they also allowed more conventional hybrids in yield trials this year.
In Illinois, about 5 percent of the entries were conventional hybrids. In Iowa, 5 to 7 percent of the entries were conventional.