Lessons re-learned in 2019 will help growers prepare for 2020

A corn specialist says there were several lessons re-learned in 2019 that will help growers prepare for 2020.

Purdue University’s Bob Nielsen says one of those lessons is that late planting by itself doesn’t guarantee terrible yields. He says in Indiana, for example, trend yield was only down 5 percent.

“We had one or two locations where we actually had as good or better yields than we’ve ever had and we were joking among ourselves at harvest asking why we don’t harvest in June every year,” he says. “Certainly you don’t want to plant late on purpose because it does increase the risk of lower yields, but it doesn’t guarantee low yields.”

Nielsen says last year also showed how resilient modern hybrids are to crop stresses.

“Boy, if we had the same hybrids that we did 30 years ago we would have had disastrous yields,” he says. “So I think that’s a testament to seed companies and the work plant breeders have done to not only increase the yield potential of these hybrids but also to improve their ability to tolerate the stress that you and I can’t predict when or what type it’s going to be.”

Advice he has for growers in the coming season is…”Let’s not change anything drastically, let’s continue to focus on making good sound agronomic decisions, and let’s focus on continuing to identify yield limiting factors field by field and taking the steps necessary to mitigate those,” he says.

Brownfield spoke to Nielsen at thee Purdue University Top Farmer Conference.

Audio: Bob Nielsen, Purdue University

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