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JimMeade
Veteran Advisor

Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

I'm not sure I see that new corn is especially drought tolerant.  It may be more that newer hybrids are generally more relilable under all stress conditions.

 

This Nebraska paper is pretty simple.  Drought tolerant traits are not a single gene, which makes it harder to select or design a hybrid.

http://cropwatch.unl.edu/development-drought-tolerant-corn-hybrids-unl-cropwatch-sept-22-2011

 

This study seems to indicate that being drought tolerant may help when moisture is limited but when times are good that trait doesn't produce as well.  

https://academic.oup.com/jxb/article/65/21/6191/609140/Breeding-drought-tolerant-maize-hybrids-for-t...

 

Here is an excerpt from Ohio.

 

"The drought-tolerant hybrid yield advantage was positive when the conventional hybrid yield was less than 185 bu/A, which is the point where the line crosses the x-axis. This value is approximately 10 bu/A above the state yield average for Ohio in 2013 and 2014 (USDA-NASS, 2015). In environments where the yield potential for conventional hybrids was below 185 bu/A (941 occurrences), the drought-tolerant hybrids produced greater yields 61 percent of the time (Figure 3A). When the conventional hybrids produced grain yield greater than 185 bu/A (1,194 occurrences), the drought-tolerant hybrid yield advantage was negative and produced less yield 62 percent of the time (Figure 3B). These results suggest that in moderate to lower yielding environments in Ohio (below 185 bu/A average yield), the drought-tolerant hybrids can produce greater yield than their conventional counterparts under the same management conditions, but the yield may not be greater when conventional hybrids yield more than 185 bu/A. A similar yield advantage was observed in Kansas from using drought-tolerant hybrids where the state yield average was 138 bu/A in 2013 and 2014 (USDA-NASS, 2015). The drought-tolerant hybrids exhibited a yield advantage when the conventional hybrid yield was less than 136 bu/A, but yield was similar between hybrid types when the conventional hybrid yield was greater than 136 bu/A (Ciampitti et al., 2015). In Ohio, the drought-tolerant hybrids exhibited more stable yield than the conventional hybrids in that the low yield was not as low, and the highest yield was not as high. This supports the statements presented by Cooper et al. (2014) that these drought-tolerant hybrids have been bred for improved yield stability across environments. In summary, drought-tolerant hybrids may offer a yield advantage in production environments at greater risk to water deficit with moderate- to low-yield potential."

 

http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/agf-516

 

My take-away on this is I'll go for the best yielding corn without regard to drought tolerance unless I'm in an area where drought is typical.  Not for the Three I states, maybe.  Might be good for western Kansas, Nebraska and so forth.

 

My deepest appreciation to Meaghan Andersaon, ISU Extension Agronomist for finding these resources.

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7 Replies
BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

Yeah I think it`s best to forget about it.  If you have your Potash levels up to snuff, just a good yielding hybrid will be the best.  All these gimmicks come at a price in the form of less yield.

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marci10937940
Frequent Visitor

Re: Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

We have had the drought tolerant hybrids in our own on farm test plot here in NW Indiana and they have never been the top yielder, even in 2012.

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AllenJwi
Senior Contributor

Re: Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

I planted a Agrigold drought guard experimental number and it out did everything else by 10 bu. This was on ligher ground but we had a good year for rainfall. If I could have bought that variity I would have planted everything into it this year. A Channel and Dekalb DG numer also done well. 

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Wind
Advisor

Re: Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

My relatives in western Kansas plant a Dekalb number that works well for dry land corn.  They currently are not growing wheat-not profitable.  For them these new drought tolerant varieties work to a point, you still can not grow good corn on just 30% relative humidity.  Allen, mind sharing where you farm? 

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Wind
Advisor

Re: Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

Had a visitor here last weekend from south central PA that just mentioned in our visiting that his son is planting more of the new drought tolerant corn on his land and it is working.  They get some rain but their soil is light.  With these new hybrids these fringe areas can hang on a little longer or stay the coarse.

 

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ECIN
Senior Advisor

Re: Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

Wind - I bet Allen lives just South of Decatur IL about 20 miles - lol

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AllenJwi
Senior Contributor

Re: Drought Tolerant Corn - Really?

Central Wisconsin. We are in the 95 to 100 day maturity range. Soil is real variable from sand to clay and everything in between.

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