Other Trials of Interest

Published Feb 4, 1992

Rootworm Control

Jim and Vickie Striegel compared rates of rootworm insecticide. (See table 1) They used the shopcrafted banders manufactured by their neighbor, Larry Conrad, which are supposed to give more even distribution of material across the row than other banders. The hope was that the banders would allow them to use a half-rate of insecticide. Nevertheless, the corn receiving the full rate of Lorsban yielded better than both the control and the half-rate treatments in this trial.

Steve and Gloria Leazer compared rootworm insecticide to an alternative root stimulant, Bioroot Plus. (See Table 1) Corn treated with insecticide yielded significantly better than both the zero-rate check treatment corn and the corn treated with the biological root stimulant. The same root stimulant was applied to soybeans with no observable effect by Mark and Rita Mays.

Seeds and Seeding

Mike and Jamie Reicherts evaluated the economics of using bin-run oats and soybeans instead of purchased seed. The farm-grown seed made them money in both cases. Dick and Sharon Thompson obtained a significantly greater corn yield with a population of 30,000 plants per acre than with 27,000. (See Table 2)

Harvest Date

Ted and Donna Bauer performed a simple experiment to compare corn harvest dates three weeks apart. The good drying weather in October allowed them to save more than $11 per acre in grain hauling and drying. (See Table 2)

Multileaf Alfalfa

Dordt College compared a multileaf alfalfa variety to a standard alfalfa variety. The multileaf has more leaf for the same amount of stem, and so should produce a higher quality hay. Ron Vos at the College measured yield, crude protein, and relative feed value. He did not find differences clearly attributable to variety, but the multileaf characteristic should be expressed more strongly as the stand matures next year. (See Table 2)

No-till and Ridge-till

Don and Sharon Davidson carried out a trial to answer the question they often hear about the relative merits of ridge tillage and no-till. No-tilled soybeans can be seeded close with a drill, leaving little space between plants. In theory, this allows the crop to use more of the available sunlight earlier in the season than soybeans planted in 30-inch or 36-inch rows, and the no-till residue cover conserves soil moisture. The results from the trial, indicate that the no-till soybeans did indeed yield 2.1 bushels per acre better than the ridge-till soybeans, a statistically significant difference. But the no-till system also required two separate postemergence herbicide applications and a higher seeding rate, and their cost outweighed the economic benefit of the higher yield. Don hopes to continue this comparison for several more years.