In 2016, 212 corn hybrids representing 26 commercial brands were evaluated in the Ohio Corn Performance Test (OCPT). Four tests were established in the Southwestern/West Central/Central (SW/WC/C) region and three tests were established in the Northwestern (NW) and North Central/Northeastern (NC/NE) regions (for a total of ten test sites statewide). Hybrid entries in the regional tests were planted in either an early or a full season maturity trial. These test sites provided a range of growing conditions and production environments.
The 2016 Ohio growing season was characterized by cool, wet conditions in April and May followed by warmer and drier than normal conditions from late June to early-mid August, especially in parts of northern and western Ohio. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor during the second week of August, 46 percent of the state was rated as in “moderate drought” with that area covering most of northern Ohio. Another 15 percent of the state was rated in “severe drought” with that area spreading from west central Ohio to northeast Ohio. Hot, dry conditions at pollination and early grain fill resulted in poor kernel set and ear tip fill but timely rains in August and September reduced the impact of the drought on yield. Premature kernel sprouting and moldy grain caused by ear and kernel fungi, including Diplodia, Gibberella, and Trichoderma fungi, were present in localized areas across the state and were often more evident in early planted, earlier maturing hybrids. Foliar diseases and insect pests were not a major factor at most test sites. There were reports of major stalk lodging in localized areas but stalk quality problems were generally not widespread and negligible. Warm, dry conditions in September and October promoted crop maturation and dry down.
Yields varied across the state depending on the timing and duration of drought conditions. Averaged across hybrid entries in the early and full season tests, yields were 241 bu/A in the Southwestern/West Central/Central region, 195 bu/A in the Northwestern region, and 197 bu/A in the North Central/Northeastern region. Yields at individual test sites, averaged across hybrid entries in the early and full season tests, ranged from 163 bu/A at Wooster to 256 bu/A at Hebron. The Wooster, Hoytville and Van Wert test sites were especially dry in June and July and averaged lower yields than other test locations. The full season tests averaged consistently higher yields than the early tests. Moldy grain was observed in some hybrids at Hebron and Beloit. Moderate to high levels of gray leaf spot were evident in a few hybrids at Bucyrus and Beloit. Lodging was largely absent across sites except at South Charleston where some hybrids lodged as a result of heavy rains and strong winds in late August.
Tables 1 and 2 provide an overview of 2016 hybrid performance in the early maturity and full season hybrid trials by region. Averages for grain yield and other measures of agronomic performance are indicated for each region. In addition, the range in regional test site averages is shown in parentheses. Complete results are available online at: http://oardc.osu.edu/corntrials/ . A bulletin containing the results, 2016 Ohio Corn Performance Test, will be published shortly as an insert in Ohio’s Country Journal.
As you review 2016 test results, it’s important to keep the following in mind. Confidence in test results increases with the number of years and the number of locations in which the hybrid was tested. Avoid selecting a hybrid based on data from a single test site, especially if the site was characterized by abnormal growing conditions. Look for consistency in a hybrid's performance across a range of environmental conditions. Consider the tables providing a “Combined regional summary of hybrid performance” which indicate the performance of hybrids common to all ten state test sites as well as the seven tests in western Ohio. Differences in grain moisture percentages among hybrids at harvest can provide a basis for comparing hybrid maturity. Yield, % stalk lodging, grain moisture, and other comparisons should be made between hybrids of similar maturity to determine those best adapted to your farm.