Organic Corn Performance Trial

Curt Reese and Brad Heins, WCROC

November, 2016

Organic farmers in Minnesota have very little data to use to select corn varieties.  The West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in Morris, MN, currently has 300 acres of organic cropland and we are also affected by the same lack of data.  In 2016, Blue River Hybrids and Albert Lea Seed (Viking brand) were contacted to participate in an organic corn performance trial with locations at Morris and at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) in Lamberton, MN.  Both companies sent five varieties of 85 to 97 day corn for evaluation.  This trial was conducted at two sites at both locations.  One test was under organic practices and one was conventional production.  The Morris conventional trial was in soybeans in 2015 and received 150-60-0-15 of fertilizer in the fall 2015.  The organic trial was planted where alfalfa was grown for three years and solid dairy manure was applied in the fall of 2015.  Weed control was excellent at the Morris organic site and no differences in population were noted between plots.  Weed control methods for the organic test at Morris was one pass of a flex tine harrow at three inch corn followed by one pass of row cultivation.  No lodging or ear dropping were noted at either site in Morris or Lamberton.

Plots were four rows wide and 30 inch spacing with a seeding rate was 35,000 seeds per acre at all locations.  Both Morris trials were planted May 20, 2016.  The organic trial was harvested October 7, 2016 and the conventional trail was harvested October 12.  

The Lamberton trial was planted on May 26 and harvested on October 19, 2016.

Each trial was a randomized complete block test with three replications.  Data was analyzed by using Statistx version 10 software.

Morris Organic Trial

The ANOVA P value for yield was .0019 and a LSD of .1 is presented.

Morris Organic Corn Trial 2016

The surrounding field was 26 acres and planted to Blue River 35M70 and yielded 210 bu/acre.

Morris Conventional Trial

The ANOVA P value for yield was .033 and a LSD of .1 is presented.*

Morris Conventional Corn Trial 2016

* Combine harvesting error occurred on two adjacent plots of the same entry.  Means were averaged of the two plots and used in the analysis.  Rankings were not affected but the LSD may be higher than reported.  Data yield data analyzed using Friedman Two-Way Nonparametric AOV resulted in a P value of .087 on unmodified data.

Lamberton Organic Trial

The ANOVA P value for yield was .0049 and an LSD of .1 is presented.

Lamberton Organic Corn Trial 2016

Lamberton Conventional Trial

The ANOVA P value for yield was .0013 and a LSD of .1 is presented.*

Lamberton Conventional Corn Trial 2016

The WCROC would like to thank Albert Lea Seed and Blue River Hybrids for support of this project.  We also thank Steve Quiring, Joel Ekberg, and Roger Gausman for technical support of this project.