Planting Grain Corn Trials (Video)

We planted the Columbia County Grain Corn Trials on 3/14. Conditions were good at the time but we have received about 4″ of rain since we finished planting the field. I worked with the crew from 83 Farms to get these planted on their farm in Columbia County. We installed these plots in a randomized, replicated design, with three reps of ten hybrids. We had the benefit of planting these plots using GPS autosteer equipment. This technology is extremely useful for conducting on-farm research. In this case we were able to load the planters, and I told the cooperators what strips to plant. For example, I would tell the cooperator to plant a specific variety on strip 7, 19, and 24. They would use the GPS interface in the cab of the tractor to identify these three strips. They would drive to the start of the strip and the tractor would maintain that line through the length of the field. Then they would return and load the planter with a different hybrid for three more strips. This allowed us to randomize replications and ultimately “fill in the gaps” which is not possible without the technology. The result of this is that we can make statistically valid comparisons of different corn hybrids on these soils and management practices.  Without this sophisticated equipment we have to plant one row after another using the planter’s row markers, and we would not have the patience for randomized replicates as we would have to remove the planter boxes after every strip to change hybrids.  I have provided a quick smartphone video of the tractors planting in between the previously planted strips. There were two planters running, and the technology allows them to use the same guide lines and numbering sequence. For those not familiar with this technology, the tractor is automatically lining up on the strip and maintaining the line with less than one inch of deviation from the line. You can see in the videos that the drivers do not have their hands on the  steering wheel. Thanks to thank Pioneer, Dekalb, and Mycogen for donating corn seed to make this possible.

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