Fred Below of the University of Illinois has spent his career researching how farmers can grow 300-bushel-per-acre corn. Below is a Plant Physiology Professor at the university and has categorized the results of his research into seven management practices – or wonders – that can result in high yielding corn. He says his study helps growers answer the question of what the latest products and practices contribute to yield.
According to Below – the most important factor is weather – followed by nitrogen/fertility, hybrid selection, previous crop, plant population, tillage and growth regulators. Each factor interacts with the others to produce an average bushel-per-acre yield. Below says when combined – all of these factors contribute to big-yield gains.
Below’s unique omission plots allowed him and his team to see the bushel impact when an individual high tech practice or input was added or subtracted – then compare it to other plots in which all high tech actions were in place in the same plot. Replicated in various locations over various years – the results allowed Below to identify and rank those seven factors with the greatest impact on corn yield. His information is now available to the public at www.7WondersOfCorn.com.