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Effects of Row Width and Plant Population on the Performance of
Mid-Atlantic Grain and Forage Journal (formerly New Jersey Grain and Forage Journal) A Compilation of Research and Extension Projects on Corn, Soybean, Small Grain and Forage Production Supported by: New Jersey Soybean Board Grain and Forage Producers’ Association of New Jersey Rutgers Cooperative Extension Cook College Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey 2000-2001 Volume 7 PREFACE Mid-Atlantic Grain and Forage Journal 2000-2001, Volume 7 This is the seventh edition of the Journal, formerly named the New Jersey Grain and Forage Journal. Traditionally the publication has presented work conducted in New Jersey by Rutgers Cooperative Extension faculty and staff. The name change reflects the fact that submissions to this journal have continued to come from researchers and Extension workers from the Mid-Atlantic region. Articles from New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland are included in this issue. Grain and forage production represents the largest agricultural acreage in the MidAtlantic states, adding significantly to and supporting related industries. Not only does this support the local and regional economy, but also provides the benefits of open space to the residents of the region. Unfortunately at the same time, dollars to support personnel conducting field and forage crop research and extension efforts for this sector of the agricultural economy are declining. It is my hope that this and other collaborative efforts by field and forage crop agents, specialists and researchers from land-grant colleges and universities in the region will assist in information sharing across state borders. I would like to acknowledge and thank the New Jersey Soybean Board and Grain and Forage Producers’ Association for their financial support. The Soybean Board allocates soybean check off funds for research and promotional activities that benefit the soybean industry. The Grain and Forage Producers’ Association promotes research, marketing, legislation and education related to the grain and forage industry. In addition I would like to thank the following people who joined me as reviewers for this edition: Richard Taylor, University of Delaware, Robert Kratochvil, University of Maryland, and Greg Roth, Penn State University. Lastly, thank you to the Cook College Computing Services Office for their assistance in publishing this web-based journal. I hope that these results will be of interest and use to you. Our goal is to provide information to farmers, industry personnel and Cooperative Extension faculty and staff. Your suggestions for research and educational projects are always welcome, as it is our desire to develop programs that serve your most important needs. Daniel Kluchinski, Editor Rutgers Cooperative Extension E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org TABLE OF CONTENTS MULTI-YEAR RESEARCH PROJECT RESULTS Effects of Row Width and Plant Population on the Performance of Corn Grown for Grain in Maryland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. J. Kratochvil and T. J. Miller Summary p. 1-2 Research Paper p. 3-7 p. 1-7 Effects of Row Width and Plant Population on the Performance of Corn Silage in Maryland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. J. Kratochvil and T. J. Miller Summary p. 8-9 Research Paper p. 10-14 p. 8-14 Yield and Quality of Potato Leafhopper Resistant Alfalfa Varieties . . . . . . J. W. Singer and J. Ingerson-Mahar Summary p. 15-16 Research Paper p. 17-20 p. 15-20 SINGLE-YEAR RESEARCH AND DEMONSTRATIONS A Comparison of Site-Specific Nitrate Testing and Bulked Sample Analysis: Does Site Specific Nutrient Sampling Change the Management Outcome? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P. Tocco and D. Lee p. 21-22 Development of a Site-Specific Monitoring and Management System for Potato Leafhopper in Alfalfa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 23-24 P. Tocco and D. Lee Soil Phosphorus Status of Southern New Jersey Pastures . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 25-26 W. J. Bamka Organic No-Till Grain Rotations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 27-32 R. D. Myers Roundup Ready® and Traditional Soybean Variety Performance Trials in Delaware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B. Uniatowksi, R. W. Taylor and R. P. Mulrooney p. 33-49 Effects of Row Width and Plant Population on the Performance of Corn Silage in Maryland Robert J. Kratochvil, Extension Specialist-Field Crops Department of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 E-mail: email@example.com Thomas J. Miller, Regional Extension Specialist Maryland Cooperative Extension Wye Research and Education Center, Queenstown, MD Research Question The conventional row width spacing for silage corn production is 30 inches. Recently, forage harvesting equipment has been developed that will harvest silage in any row spacing. With the advent of that equipment, there has been interest among farmers regarding the agronomic performance of silage corn produced in narrower rows than the conventional row width as they consider the economics of purchasing this new technology. There have been studies that have found improved yield performance when corn is produced in narrower row widths. There have also been reports of improved yield performance when corn is produced at plant populations considered to be higher than the recommended standards for a region. This study compared the performance of one silage hybrid grown in 15- and 30-inch row widths and at plant populations ranging from 24,000 to 45,000 plants per acre under dryland conditions during the three year period (1997-1999) in Maryland. Successful production of silage corn in row widths narrower than the standard for an area has been reported by numerous researchers the past few years (Cox, 1997 and 1998; Roth, 1996). One common thread that these reports have is that they all occurred in northern latitude states (i.e. north of the Mason-Dixon line) of the United States. Reports from midlatitude states have either shown no yield advantage to narrower rows or inconsistent results (Farnham, 1998). These same scientists have reported silage yield increases to plant populations greater than the recommended standards for their states (Cox, 1997 and 1998; Roth, 1996). Again these reports are from states in the northern latitude zone of the U.S. Bitzer (1996) reported that he found no yield advantage to higher than normal plant populations. From 1997 to 1999, Pioneer brand 3335 was planted at two locations per year in a study that compared its performance in 15- and 30-inch row widths and at the populations: 24,000, 30,000, 36,000, 42,000 and 45,000 plants/A. The experimental design was a randomized complete block (3 replications) with a split-split plot arrangement of treatments. The main plots were nitrogen fertility treatments (0, 100, 175, and 250 lb/acre), the split plots consisted of the two row width treatments, and the split-split plots were the population treatments. All the plots were over-planted and thinned to derived populations by removing the excess plants within four weeks after planting. Is there an advantage to 15-inch row width corn in a silage system? Averaged over all locations, populations and nitrogen fertilizer treatments common to all three years of the study, the corn produced in the 30-inch row Literature Summary Study Description Applied Questions 8 width treatment produced 0.7 ton more silage than the 15-inch row width treatment. Which plant population performed best? Averaged over all locations, nitrogen fertilizer treatments and row-width treatments common to all three years of the study, plant populations of 36 and 42,000 plants/A produced 2.1 and 2.3 tons/A more silage than the 30,000 plants/A treatment. After the first two years of the study, it was determined that the lowest plant population treatment of 24,000 plants/A was not an adequate population for a silage system in Maryland. During those two years the 24,000 plants/A treatment produced 1.4 tons/A less than the 30,000 plants/A treatment. The greatest plant population tested was 45,000 plants/A (evaluated only in 1999) and was found to yield less than either the 36,000 or 42,000 plants/A treatments. Recommendations No yield advantage was found for corn grown for silage when it was planted in 15-inch row widths. The cost incurred by investing in harvesting equipment to harvest silage produced in this narrower row width would not likely be returned because there would most likely be no additional yield. Most Maryland silage producers are currently using a seeding rate that attains a plant population between 24,000 and 30,000 plants/A. This work indicates that plant populations for silage production in Maryland can be increased above the current standard and may go as high as 35,000 plants/A for either irrigated farms or fields that have good moisture holding ability. 9 Effects of Row Width and Plant Population on the Performance of Corn Silage in Maryland Robert J. Kratochvil, Extension Specialist-Field Crops Department of Natural Resource Sciences and Landscape Architecture University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas J. Miller, Regional Extension Specialist Maryland Cooperative Extension Wye Research and Education Center, Queenstown, MD Introduction A study was conducted in Maryland from 1997 to 1999 to compare the effects of 15- and 30-inch row width treatments at varying plant populations on the performance of a corn hybrid grown for silage production. Recent reports from numerous states have indicated that greater yields can be attained when corn is produced in a row width narrower than the conventional, 30-inch wide standard used for both silage and grain corn production. There have also been reports that plant populations greater than the recommended standard for a region will provide a yield benefit. This study was designed to evaluate both the row width and the plant population effects on silage corn production in Maryland. Cox et al. (1998) reported on a 1994-1996 study in New York in which he tested eight silage hybrids in 15- and 30-inch row widths. The plant populations ranged form 18,000 to 42,000 plants/A in 6000 plant increments. He reported a 4 percent yield advantage in the 15-inch row width treatment. He found maximum economic yield occurred at 39,500 plants per acre. There are also some interesting results reported for increased plant populations for silage production. G.W. Roth (1996) in Pennsylvania found a 3 to 4 percent increase in corn silage yields with a plant population of 34,000 plants/A compared to 27,000 plants/A. Cox (1997) in New York determined plant densities for silage production should average about 7.5 percent greater than for grain production. The general trend for the reported data indicates a yield advantage for narrow row silage corn production in states north of the Mason-Dixon line (i.e. New York, Pennsylvania). Research from mid-latitude states indicates either no yield advantage for narrow row corn production or inconsistent response. The trend for higher plant populations is similar, the corn produced in the more northern latitude states seems to respond better to higher populations than does corn produced in the mid-latitude states. Materials and Methods This study was planted from 1997-1999at two locations: Central Maryland Research and Education Center-Clarksville Facility (CMREC) and Western Maryland Research and Education Center (WMREC) located near Hagerstown, Maryland. Both these sites are located in the corn-silage production region of Maryland. The experimental design was a split-split plot arrangement of treatments within a randomized complete block with three replications. The main plots were four nitrogen fertility treatments (0, 100, 175, and 250 lb N/A) that were included as part of a nutrient management component to the study and not discussed in this paper. The split plots were two row width treatments (15- and 30-inches). The split-split plots were the plant population treatments. During the period 1997 to 1998, four plant population treatments (24,000, 30,000, 36,000 and 42,000 plants/A) were evaluated. During the third year of the study, the plant population treatments that were evaluated were 30,000, 36,000, 42,000 and 45,000 plants/A. The standard seeding rates used by the majority of Maryland farmers for silage corn production range between 24,000 and 30,000 plants/A. The 24,000 plants/A treatment tested during the first two years was dropped from the study and replaced in the study by the 45,000 plants/A treatment. This change in plant population treatments was made for two reasons. First, based upon the 1997 and 1998 10 data, the 24,000 plants/A population was determined to not be an acceptable standard for silage production. Second, the 36,000 and 42,000 plants/A treatments had not reflected the upper limit yield response to high population during the first two years of the study. The corn hybrid used in the study was Pioneer brand 3335 and was supplied by Pioneer Hybrids, Intl. The 30-inch plots were planted with a John Deere Max-Emerge planter. The 15-inch plots were planted with the same planter equipped with its splitter. Standard fertilizer and pesticide practices were used at both locations each year. All the plots were planted at seeding rates that exceeded the highest plant population treatment by at least 10 percent. The treatment plant populations were attained within four weeks after the planting date by removing the excess plants from each plot by cutting them below their growing point. The planting dates for WMREC were: 15 May, 1997; 28 May, 1998; and 11 May, 1999. The planting dates at CMREC were: 7 May, 1997; 19 May, 1998 and 6 May, 1999. Silage harvest began shortly after black-layer formation. The harvest was accomplished by randomly selecting and cutting eight consecutive plants within one of the two center rows of each plot. The plants were cut at approximately six inches from the ground and similar to what would have been attained with a forage harvester. The eight plants were weighed. Silage yield for each plot was determined by calculating the individual plant weight from the eight harvested plants and then multiplying by the treatment plant population for each plot and is reported in tons/A adjusted to a standard 65 percent harvest moisture content. Two randomly selected plants from each plot were used for determination of the harvest moisture content and for silage nutritive quality analysis. These two plants were chopped using a Craftsman Chipper/Shredder. The chopped sample was weighed and then placed in a dryer o maintained at 130 F for 96 hours. The dry weight of each sample was used for the calculation of harvest moisture content. These dried samples were stored until they could be ground through a Wiley mill equipped with a 10-mesh screen. These samples were then stored until they could be sent to a laboratory for nutritive analyses that are pending. Results and Discussion Row Width Response A significant row width response was found. The silage yield averaged over the six locations, the four nitrogen treatments, and the three plant populations common to the three years of the study (30,000, 36,000 and 42,000 plants/ac.), was 0.7 T/A more in the 30- inch row width treatment (Figure 1). There was a significant row width by location interaction present. At four of the locations (Figure 1), there were no differences for yield between the two row width treatments. At two of the locations, CMREC in 1998 and WMREC in 1999, the yield response favored the 30-inch row width treatment (Figure 1). This inconsistent yield response to narrow rows was similar with the results reported by Farnham (1998) for shell corn in Iowa. Since the study was conducted during three of the driest years that Maryland experienced during the 1990’s, the results were somewhat surprising. Hypothetically, the corn produced in the 15-inch row width and at the same population as the 30-inch row width treatment should have performed better since there was less interplant competition for the limited moisture among the plants in the narrow rows because of their improved spatial arrangement. However, there were no row width by plant population interactions present indicating this was not the case. Plant Population Response For the period 1997 and 1998, a significant response among the four plant population treatments was found. The silage yield for the 36,000 and 42,000 plants/A treatments was found to be significantly greater than for either the 24,000 or the 30,000 plants/A treatments (Figure 2). During 1999, the 45,000 plants/A population was found to yield significantly less than either the 36,000 or 42,000 plants/A treatments. Three of the plant population treatments (30,000, 36,000 and 42,000 plants/A) were common to the study during the period 1997-1999. There was a significant yield response to population. Averaged over the six locations, the four nitrogen treatments and the two row width treatments, the best silage yields were produced at 36,000 and 42,000 plants/A (Figure 3). There was no row width by plant population 11 25 20 LSD.05 = 0.73 T/A at 6 sites LSD.05 = 1.85 T/A at a location b 15 a 10 5 0 6-site avg. CMREC- WMREC- CMREC- WMREC- CMREC- WMREC97 97 98 98 99 99 15 in 30 in b a a a a a b a a a a a Figure 1. The effects of row width averaged over the four nitrogen fertility treatments and three plant population treatments common to the three years of the study upon the yield of a silage hybrid for the six locations and for each individual location for the period 1997-1999. A pair of bars with the same letter indicate that the difference found was not statistically significant. 25 LSD.05 = 0.49 T/A 20 15 Tons/acre 10 a b c c 5 0 24,000 30,000 Plants/acre Figure 2. Effects of plant population upon the yield of silage hybrid averaged over the four locations, four nitrogen fertility treatments and two row width treatments common to the study during the period of 1997-1998 in Maryland. Two bars with the same letter are not statistically different from one another. 36,000 42,000 12 18 15 LSD.05 = 1.05 T/A b 12 9 6 3 0 a b 30000 36000 Plant Population 42000 Figure 3. The effects of plant population upon the yield of a silage hybrid when averaged over the six locations, four nitrogen treatments and two row width treatments common to the study during the period 1997-1999 in Maryland. Two bars with the same letter are not significantly different. interaction because the response to plant populations was the same whether the corn was produced in either 15-inch or 30-inch row widths. These results were surprising since the study was conducted during three droughty years and because the opposite response to plant populations was found with a grain study conducted concurrently (Kratochvil and Miller, 2001). Because of the dry conditions, conventional wisdom had suggested that the best silage yields should have been found at the lower plant populations. These results did correspond to the silage work reported by Cox (1998) in New York. Through his work, the standard seeding rate recommendations for silage production in New York have been adjusted to plant populations of 32,000 – 34,000 plants/A for good soils and 26,000 – 28,000 plants/A for droughty soils. Conclusions The production of silage corn in a 15-inch row width system in Maryland does not appear to follow the same trend as our neighboring and more northern states, Pennsylvania (Roth, 1996), and New York (Cox, 1998). Not one instance of improved silage yield in a 15-inch production system was found at any of the six locations during the three-year period. Production of silage corn in 15-inch row widths is not recommended for Maryland. Yield response to plant populations, however, did conform to the findings of both Cox (1998) and Roth (1996). In this study, the best silage yields were obtained at plant populations of 36,000 and 42,000 plants/A. The optimum plant population to produce maximum yield is likely to be within this range of seeding rates as a 45,000 plants/A treatment during 1999 had a yield significantly lower than both of these rates. Since the majority of farmers are currently planting corn for silage at rates between 25,000 and 30,000 plants/A, an increase to approximately 35,000 plants/A appears to be warranted and is recommended when production is either on good soils or is irrigated. The impact that higher plant populations has on forage quality is pending the results of laboratory analyses. Forage harvesters equipped with Kemper type forage heads are capable of harvesting silage planted at any row width. The information gained from this study does not indicate that the purchase of this type of costly forage equipment would be economically justified under any conditions. In addition, a switch to narrow row production would impact the potential for post-emergent pesticide and nitrogen applications. In order to continue with this practice, the farmer would most likely have to make some equipment 13 modifications which would also be an additional cost that does not appear to be economically justified based upon the results reported here. References Cox, W.J. 1997. Corn Silage and Grain Yield Responses to Plant Densities. Journal of Production Agriculture. 10:405-410. Cox, W.J., D.R. Cherney, and J.J. Hanchar. 1998. Row Spacing, Hybrid, and Plant Density Effects on Corn Silage Yield and Quality. Journal of Production Agriculture. 11:128-134. Farnham, D.E. 1998. Will Narrow Corn Rows Prevail?: A Central Corn Belt Perspective? p. 105. Agronomy Abstracts. ASA. Madison, WI. Roth, G.W. and L.E. Marshall. 1996. Corn Grain and Silage Yield Response to Narrow Rows. p. 113. Agronomy Abstracts. ASA, Madison, WI. 14 Mention or display of a trademark, proprietary product, or firm in text or figures does not constitute an endorsement by Rutgers Cooperative Extension and does not imply approval to the exclusion of other suitable products or firms. Rutgers Cooperative Extension N. J. Agricultural Experiment Station Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick Distributed in cooperation with U. S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Cooperative Extension work in agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H. Adesoji O. Adelaja, director of Extension. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or martial and family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Rutgers Cooperative Extension is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
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