The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa on January 9, 1968 · Page 22
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The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa · Page 22

Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 9, 1968
Page 22
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Kernels that produce the top test weight have broad shoulders. Notice the contrast in the two kernels shown at the left. The base of the kernel is the last to fill, if the flow of nutrients from the stalk to the kernel is interrupted, the base of the kernel is more narrow and pale yellow or white in appearance — not broad and full-shouldered. HEAVYWEIGHT CORN MEANS MORE BUSHELS Finding money is always a pleasant experience. It's even more enjoyable when there's no worry about someone having lost it. So when a farmer in northern Illinois found $300 in corn profits he didn't know he had, it made the day considerably brighter. It happened when he shelled out a 1,300-bushel bin of corn and found that it held 1,600 bushels at a test weight of 61 pounds. The elevator even gave him a voluntary premium of one cent a bushel because of the high quality. Discovery by DeKalb seed researchers that some varieties of corn weigh more on the ear than others can boost farm profits. Another farmer who had a profitable experience with heavyweight corn is Richard Pitstick of Virgil, Illinois. He happened to notice that one corn variety consistently tested at 57 pounds or more per bushel, compared with 50 to 53 pounds for other varieties. In a field test, he found that the weight advantage averaged out to 17 bushels per acre. One central Illinois farmer found that his truck held 35 bushels more of an XL variety than of another. And in north-central Iowa where two farmers share a crib, they shelled out 105 and 200 bushels more from one 1,400-bushel side than the other in two consecutive years, thanks to a heavier variety. Scientists with DeKalb explain that the weight of a kernel of corn varies most in the shoulder (near the cob), the last section to fill in. The weight is lower when the flow of nutrients from the stalk to the kernel is interrupted by any of several causes. These obstacles to high corn weight include too little disease or insect resistance, inability to withstand the stresses of high plant population and narrow rows, and other factors in modern corn production. In north central Iowa two brothers who shell corn throughout the neighborhood have seen 10, 15 and 20-bushel differences in the capacity of their truck strictly on the basis of test weight of the hybrid. This is also the elevator operator who liked to top his car loads with XL corn. He would hold up a car for a truck load of XL corn that he knew was coming.This same man would put XL corn in a separate bin so that he could blend it in the proper proportions later when he filled cars for shipment to the terminal market. In north central Illinois two farmers share a crib with the same capacity on each side. XL hybrids have shelled out 105 bushels more and 200 bushels more in two consecutive years. Each side of the crib holds 1400 bushels. When investigating the cause behind the variation, it became quite clear by checking the elevator tickets and noting the test weights. One of the best loads of grain to come into the elevator last fall was XL-346; it had a test weight of 59 Ibs. Because careful breeding of corn seed is the basic influence on corn weight per bushel, researchers are making careful selection based on genetic capability. Today's intensive cropping practices put corn varieties to a tough test of overall quality. On the farm, though, net cash return over costs is the big test of variety performance. And a difference of 17 bushels per acre just on weight means an extra profit of $1,700 or more for every hundred acres of corn. Not a bad way to find money. Richard Pitstick of Virgil, Illinois found test weight to be one of the biggest factors affecting yield differences between hybrids in 1966. Although volume harvested varied little from hybrid to hybrid, the weight difference was substantial. 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