Thursday, January 12, 2017

Evaluation of Ascend®: Hormones that stimulate corn root growth - Experiment 2

During good times and bad, but especially years with strong grain prices, numerous products appear on the market that seem too good to be true. Often these products come with wild claims. Little information is available for growers to make an informed decision, so it often becomes a case of “buyer beware.”

Ascend® is touted by Winfield Solutions, LLC, as a "... tool to increase plant efficiency" and "... can stimulate higher yields through a larger root mass ..." Ascend® contains the plant growth regulators cytokinin (0.09%), gibberellic acid (0.03%) and indole butyric acid (0.045%). It can be applied at rates of 4.5 to 6 oz/A in-furrow at planting, 2x2 inches below the seed at planting, at 6.4 to 10 oz/A at the 3 to 10 leaf stage, and/or at 6.4 oz/A at the R1-R3 leaf stage. We tested the plant growth regulator Ascend® at eleven locations in Wisconsin by applying it to an adapted hybrid and comparing it to the same hybrid left untreated during 2012 (4 reps) and 2016 (3 reps).

The 2012 results have been posted earlier (click here). If there was any growing season when a corn root growth enhancer should work it was during the drought of 2012. During 2012, locations that exhibited significant drought stress included Chippewa Falls, Lancaster, Janesville, Arlington and Fond du Lac. Hancock was an irrigated site. At seven of eleven locations there was no statistical difference when using Ascend®. At three of eleven locations, the untreated plots yielded more than plots treated with Ascend®. At one of eleven locations, Ascend® treated plots yielded more than untreated plots. At none of the sites that had significant drought stress during the growing season did Ascend® stimulate higher yields. Across all locations there was no statistical difference between corn treated with Ascend® (196 bu/A) and untreated corn (200 bu/A).

During 2016, we expanded the number of Ascend® treatments to in-furrow and foliar treatments. All were applied within the labelled rates and timings. The 2016 growing season was an ideal season throughout the state. Little stress was observed. We measured no significant yield response using Ascend® plant growth regulator (Table 1). At only one location, Hancock, was there a statistical difference using Ascend® when the control and the Ascend® foliar treatment were higher yielding than the Ascend® in-furrow and Ascend® in-furrow + foliar treatment. Across all locations there was no statistical difference between corn treated with Ascend® (228-230 bu/A) and untreated corn (230 bu/A). No statistical differences were observed for other agronomic measurements (Table 2).

Table 1. Corn grain yield (bu/A) response of Ascend® plant growth regulator treatments compared to an untreated check during 2016.

Table 2. Agronomic response of Ascend® plant growth regulator treatments compared to an untreated check during 2016. Values are means across 11 locations.


Ascend® is a "buyer beware" product. Across all locations, the yield range due to treatment response is 2 bu/A, with the untreated check as responsive as the best Ascend® treatment.The evidence from 11 locations across two years seems to confirm the conclusion to be "wary" of this product. However, I always encourage people who may want to try it on their farm to do so by buying a small amount and testing it across a few acres. You may find a response on your farm. If you do, you can always buy more next year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

State Corn Yield Contest Winners

The winners of the 2016 National Corn Growers Association corn yield contest were announced recently. The highest yield recorded in Wisconsin during 2016 was by Luke Mezera of Bagley who grew Dekalb DKC62-78 which yielded 312.2 bu/A. Winners of the four contests that Wisconsin corn growers are eligible for are shown in Table 1.


Table 1. Winners of the 2016 National Corn Growers Association corn yield contest.
Contest Name City Brand Hybrid Yield (bu/A)
AA Non-Irrigated Jeff Mezera Bagley Dekalb DKC60-69 288.7
AA No-Till/Strip-Till Non-Irrigated Luke Mezera Bagley Dekalb DKC62-78 312.2
No-Till/Strip-Till Irrigated Mark Bacon Hancock Dekalb DKC 53-56RIB 277.2
Irrigated Jeff Laskowski Plover Pioneer P0533AM1 289.0

Nationally, the highest yielding corn field was grown by Randy Dowdy of Valdosta, GA. He used AgriGold A6499STX/RIB to yield 521.4 bu/A. The highest recorded corn yield in the world was recorded in 2015 by David Hula of Charles City, VA, who grew 532.0 bu/A using Pioneer P1197AM. In Wisconsin, the highest recorded corn yield was grown in 2012 by Jeff Laskowski of Plover who grew Pioneer P0533AM1 that yielded 327.1 bu/A.

For more information on the results of this NCGA program, see http://www.ncga.com/for-farmers/national-corn-yield-contest.

Monday, November 28, 2016

State Crop Hybrid/Variety Trials: A Wealth of Information

Seed is one of the best ways to transfer technology to the farm-gate. Every year universities across the country conduct crop hybrid/variety evaluation programs. The purpose of these programs is to provide unbiased performance comparisons of crop varieties and hybrids available commercially to farmers. These trials are important because slight increases in yield can translate into huge economic impacts for farmers. For example, a one bushel increase by U.S. corn farmers across 90 million acres increases farm income $180 to $450 million depending upon corn price ($2 to $5 per bushel). Recent corn yields have been increasing at the rate of 2 bushels per acre year.

Click below to get the latest crop hybrid/variety results.

State Corn Soybean Wheat All
Colorado 2016 --- 2016 2016
Iowa 2016 2016 --- 2016
Illinois 2016 2016 2016 2016
Indiana 2016 2016 --- 2016
Kansas 2016 2016 2016 2016
Kentucky 2016 2016 2016 2016
Michigan 2016 2016 2016 2016
Minnesota 2016 2016 2016 2016
Missouri 2016 2016 2016 2016
Nebraska 2016 2016 2016 2016
North Dakota 2016 2016 2016 2016
Ohio 2016 2016 2016 ---
Pennsylvania 2016 2016 2016 ---
South Dakota 2016 2016 2016 2016
Wisconsin 2016 2016 2016 ---