In the middle of the worst drought in decades it’s a safe assumption that there was plenty of interest in the drought tolerant corn technologies research plot at Beck’s Hybrids this summer. Scott Ebelhar led the tour during Becknology days and he said it was a popular tour with lots of farmer questions throughout.
“There’s been a lot of talk about drought technologies over the years and we’ve finally got our first new release coming out this year with 5475AMX-R™ which carries the Optimum AQUAmax drought tolerance technology. On our tour we’ve got that both in a rain fed environment out in the field and also under what we call the stress mitigation tent. So we’ve put under even more drought stress and about a 7 inch moisture deficit in that environment to see how those drought tolerant technologies hold up to severe stress as opposed to a natural rainfall environment.”
When farmers flooded to Atlanta, Indiana it was too early to draw conclusions but Ebelhar is optimistic about the future.
“Well, certainly with the amount of heat stress that we’ve seen this year we’re seeing some major differences this year under the tent and outside of the tent. It’s going to be very interesting to see when the yield results come in how that shakes out. We’ve pulled a few ears at random and have seen some things that look somewhat promising. Once thing is for sure, we feel like technology is going to be very beneficial in terms of moisture stress when you throw that intense heat in at pollination like we’ve seen this year.”
On the same tour much of the time was spent on nitrogen management.
“We’ve got a large bulk of data supporting split applications, sidedress timings, because of the amount of nitrogen loss that we’ve seen in 2010 and 2011, and we’re getting a lot of questions about that this year with the dry conditions in season. Nitrogen availability has been lacking, so we don’t think we’re going to see the same level of benefit that we’ve seen in years past.”
Ebelhar says they hope to learn much from the 2012 data, but ultimately he, like many, urges growers to utilize multiyear data sets when planning. He suggests 5 and 6 year averages rather than irrational decisions based on this year alone.
Ebelhar is Southern Practical Farm Research Director for Beck’s.