Corn tests compare hybrids, analyze phosphorous and potassium rates

LSU AgCenter researchers are comparing commercially available corn hybrids from six seed companies in 15 on-farm demonstrations in corn-growing parishes of the state.

LSU AgCenter extension agents coordinated the demonstrations with producers and have been taking in-season measurements and notes on plant growth and development.

“Locations have up to 11 total hybrids we’re testing, and the overall goal is to provide nonbiased information on hybrid yield performance,” said LSU AgCenter state corn specialist Matt Foster. “We’ll be harvesting at the end of July and first part of August.”

Because the on-farm corn demonstrations are not replicated, a rigorous statistical analysis is not possible. However, because the tests are conducted across a variety of locations, meaningful and relevant observations will be useful to Louisiana producers.

Yield results and cultural practice information for each test will be published in the LSU AgCenter annual corn hybrid publication.

A separate research project is comparing phosphorous and potassium rates and their connection to corn plant health and yield. A follow-up study from last year, the current tests are being conducted at two locations in northeast Louisiana on commercial cornfields that initially tested low in phosphorous and potassium.

“First, we soil tested to get a baseline and then designed our fertilizer treatments accordingly,” said Foster.

Researchers used three different treatment levels, one with no fertilizer, another with the recommended rate of fertilizer based on soil test results and a third with a high rate of fertilizer.

In addition to the initial soil test, the soil was sampled again prior to fertilizer application. The researchers may do additional soil tests after the harvests are complete.

“It was hard to find fields where phosphorous and potassium hadn’t previously been applied,” Foster said. “We’re working in a field that’s heavy clay and another one that’s sandy.”

In addition to the soil tests, leaf tissue samples were taken once plants reached reproductive growth stages. The nutrient levels are always changing in the plants, according to Foster.

Each test will be hand harvested to determine yield.

“We plan on two to three years of these tests for good data,” he said. Randy LaBauve

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Corn core block locations

Beauregard, Caddo, Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Madison, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Richland, West Baton Rouge, West Carroll (two), West Feliciana


LSU AgCenter cotton, corn and grain sorghum specialist Matt Foster collects corn tissue samples from plots of phosphorus and potassium tests. Samples were collected at locations in West Carroll and Tensas parishes. Leaf samples were placed inside to dry and then shipped to the lab for analysis. Tissue analysis is being done to detect any nutrient concentration differences in the plants. Photo by Melanie Netterville
9/17/2021 8:59:27 PM
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