Long-time Nebraska corn breeder Tom Hoegemeyer thinks many people may be surprised by corn yields when the combines begin to roll.
“I really think that lots of folks in agriculture are going to be surprised at how much corn there is in some of the fields—and how well it is possible to fare even under such dire situations,” Hoegemeyer says.
Pretty impressive, Hoegemeyer says, considering the magnitude of this summer’s drought.
“The improvement that’s been made through plant breeding and marker-assisted technology is really telling a story out there,” he says. “We have fields that, while they’re not going to be good yields, will have some yield in them.”
Hoegemeyer says there have been tremendous improvements in corn hybrids in the past 30 years.
“If we would have had the same hybrids that we had in the 70’s—or even in 1980, which was our last real serious drought in this area—I suspect that we would have lots of fields of zero yield.”
Hoegemeyer was a plant breeder for—and is now a consultant to—Nebraska-based Hoegemeyer Hybrids.