In 2021, 33 organic hybrids representing 7 commercial brands were submitted for evaluation in the Organic Corn Performance Test. The tests were conducted on certified organic fields at Apple Creek (West Badger Farm) and Wooster (Fry Farm) in Wayne County and were intensively managed for nutrients and weed control. An additional field was planted later at Apple Creek to compare hybrid response to planting dates. The planned Lindsey site in Sandusky County was not planted in 2021 due to saturated soil conditions from late-May through mid-June.
Each hybrid entry was evaluated using four replications per site in a randomized complete block design. Hybrids were planted either in an early or full season maturity trial based on relative maturity information provided by the companies. The relative maturity of hybrid entries in the early maturity trial were 106 days or earlier; the relative maturity of hybrid entries in the full season trial were 107 days or later. The planting rate was 34,000 seeds/acre with a final stand target of 30,000 – 31,000 plants/acre. Soil amendments were applied according to recommended cultural practices for obtaining optimum grain yields.
The Organic OCPT fields were planted in early June into fields with good soil moisture. Growing conditions were mostly favorable throughout the growing season with a brief dry period in early August. Adequate rainfall during the end of August and into early September helped the sites finish strong, with September rains adding to test weight and overall yield. Low levels of Gray Leaf Spot and Northern Corn Leaf Blight were observed at the Apple Creek Site along with a late onset of Southern Rust. Disease pressure was not high enough to impact yields.
In 2021, Organic OCPT yields exceeded expectations. Averaged across hybrid entries in the early and full season tests, yields were 214 bu/A. Yields at individual test sites, averaged across hybrid entries in the early and full season tests, ranged from 211 bu/A at Wooster to 218 bu/A at Apple Creek.
Confidence in test results increases with the number of years and the number of locations in which the hybrid was tested. Look for consistency in a hybrid's performance across a range of environmental conditions. Yield, standability, grain moisture, and other comparisons should be made between hybrids of similar maturity to determine those best adapted to your farm. Results of the Organic Corn Performance Trials for 2021 will be available online at: https://ohiocroptest.cfaes.osu.edu/organiccorntrials. Hybrids can be sorted by yield, brand, and other variables.