Monthly Archives: October 2011

2011 Corn Yield Predictions

Harvest is nearly complete!  In early August, I shared a post regarding in-season yield predictions from the Hybrid Maize model.  At that time, I showed how 2011 predicted yields had been tracking with the 30 year long term average yields up until early August.  At that point, the 2011 predicted yields took a steep drop due to high night time temperatures.  High night time temperatures don’t allow for the corn plant to shut down at night.  The plant engages in respiration, essentially burning sugars that should be converted into yield. 

Some interesting things happened with the weather this year to make yields more favorable than what once was predicted.  While silking to beginning dent occurred in 20 days or less in several Nebraska fields this year, the weather cooled off during the filling process.  Some fields stayed at ¼ starch for nearly three weeks.  Looking at fields, kernels continued to get deeper, heavier, and expand to help cover some of the pollination problems observed earlier in the year.  During this time, yield predictions from the Hybrid Maize model showed that yields had the potential of returning close to the long-term median yields and it was interesting watching the trendlines move back up toward normal.  This seemed to be truer for 113 day hybrids vs. 110 day hybrids.

For example, a 110 day hybrid planted April 15 at 32,000 seeds/acre showed a predicted yield of 227 bu/acre compared to 240 bu/acre long-term median.  But a 113 day hybrid planted the same day showed a predicted yield of 244 bu/acre compared to a 248 bu/acre long term median yield.  

So what happened in your fields?  While yields have been decent, on average, I’m not seeing the trend towards the long-term median yields in our area in general.  Dryland yields I think have been better than expected but irrigated yields potentially not as good as anticipated by many.  Hybrid Maize predicts yields based on perfect conditions-nothing limiting and no pest/disease issues.  In many fields, corn was planted then sat in cool, wet soils.  We had stand losses due to Pythium in some fields or due to loose residue that was piled in areas of fields after heavy rains.  We also had varying degrees of pollination problems and the high night temperature stresses which reduced yields.  Regardless, yields are still very good in spite of another interesting growing season!  Please share what you’ve been seeing for yields in your fields!

Table 1:  Hybrid Maize 2011 Predictions from Simulations (through Oct. 30, 2011)

Date        RM        Population     Long-Term Median Yield         2011 Predicted Yield

Apr. 15   110dy      32,000                        240 bu/acre                              227 bu/acre
Apr. 15   113 dy     32,000                         248 bu/acre                              244 bu/acre
May 1      110dy      32,000                         241 bu/acre                               234 bu/acre
May 1      113dy      32,000                         260 bu/acre                              245 bu/acre
May 10    110dy     32,000                         244 bu/acre                               235 bu/acre
May 10    113dy     32,000                          258 bu/acre                              258 bu/acre 

Visit from Chinese Agronomists

Last week I had a neat experience in speaking to a group of agronomists from China about Extension.  They are in the U.S. for 10 days and are interested in high yield corn production.  I scrapped the presentation I had been asked to present as they had so many questions about our Extension system.  So we started in a discussion…how do we set up a field day/meeting in Extension?  How do we let farmers know about them?  How do we decide what to talk about? Thus ensued a discussion of farming in China vs. farming in Nebraska.  In China, many of the fields are hand-planted and less than 10% of their farmers have internet connectivity.  In Nebraska, we’re seeing the trend of larger equipment and the majority of our farmers are connected to the internet.  I suggested that they start with field days and meetings which shared the research-based information they are generating at their research sites.  Advertise to farmers via word of mouth, radio, newspapers, direct mailings, or brochures/flyers left at common gathering spots.  Once they have the people at the meetings, they can follow up with a survey to determine needs assessment for what the farmers would like to know more about in the future to determine future meeting topics. 

Extension in Nebraska has greatly changed in my 7 years regarding how we share information.  We are challenged today to reach a broad audience who on one hand primarily finds information from newspapers  to the other hand, primarily from the Web-and everywhere in between! This year, I’ve worked at trying to share the same information 7 different ways to reach a broader audience.  I showed the agronomists from China the impact of the Web and social media in sharing information in Nebraska.  They were amazed! 

We then went on a tour where they were able to view harvest.  It was fascinating watching them excitedly discuss and question no-till farming as they were digging through residue and in the soil.  They also predicted corn yields by measuring and counting and comparing that to the combine yield monitor.  Some enjoyed getting into the combines and learning about the precision ag tools available to farmers.  It was a neat experience and I learned much from our visitors as well!

National 4-H Week and Reflections

Happy National 4-H Week!  Thank you to all the volunteers and supporters that make 4-H in our area counties and the State a success; we wouldn’t have the 4-H program without numerous volunteers such as many of you reading this!

A few weeks ago, I was attempting to explain not only Extension but 4-H to a group of people who didn’t understand either.  A survey found that nearly 96% of people recognize the name 4-H but only 35% recognize Extension.  That’s why at our County fair, I put up the large red flags to help people make the connection between Extension and 4-H.  I think many in our county are familiar that 4-H has to do something with the fair, but it’s so much more than that!  Essentially 4-H is a youth development program coordinated by land grant universities such as UNL through the Cooperative Extension System.  The National 4-H site at http://4h.org states that “4-H fosters an innovative, “learn by doing” approach with proven results.”  A study conducted by Tufts University found that youth involved with 4-H are nearly two times more likely to get better grades in school, are nearly two times more likely to go to college, 41% less likely to engage in risky behaviors, and 25% more likely to positively contribute to their families and communities.  

The 4-H pledge explains what the 4 H’s stand for including pledging our:
*Heads to clearer thinking
*Hearts to greater loyalty
*Hands to larger service
*Health to better living….for our clubs, communities, country, and world.

I remember reciting this pledge at every monthly meeting at a 4-Her.  I’m so thankful for the numerous volunteers-particularly the amount of time our club leader invested into the youth in our club-teaching us to sew and the importance of straight seems, cook the 4-H way, model sewn garments, importance of volunteering and community service, and teaching us parliamentary procedure by empowering us as youth to run and conduct meetings.  I’m thankful for volunteers who spent each week during the summer teaching me about weeds, trees, and horticulture ID….skills I use nearly every day of my Extension career and as a homeowner.  While we often worked on them last minute and weren’t thrilled about doing them, I’m thankful my mom required us to do 4-H presentations each year to develop public speaking skills.  I’m thankful my grandma taught me how to make homemade bread and rolls and that so many volunteers worked with me on my 4-H Jr. Leader projects to help me develop leadership skills.  I’m also thankful for the Extension staff at the office while I was growing up-they were always so friendly and helpful and modeled the way for me in my career today.

Thinking about my 4-H experiences reminds me that you are encouraged by the Nebraska 4-H Foundation to share your 4-H story!  Some have asked me what this means.  Essentially, any of us who have went through the 4-H program or volunteered with the 4-H program has a story to tell about how 4-H has benefited us or how we’ve seen the program benefit others.  It may be a funny story or a serious one.  The best part is that it’s YOUR story and the 4-H Foundation wants to hear them to help with promoting 4-H!  The deadline is November 30th and you can find more information at:  http://www.ne4hfoundation.org.  Thanks again to everyone involved with helping or supporting the 4-H program and to the 1 in every 3 Nebraska youth currently involved with the 4-H program! 

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