Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Corn Yield Prediction Model Uses Simple Measurements at a Specific Growth Stage

04.07.2013
The ability to predict corn yields would benefit farmers as they plan the sale of their crops and biofuel industries as they plan their operations.

A new study published in the July-August issue of Agronomy Journal describes a robust model that uses easily obtained measurements, such as plant morphology and precipitation, collected specifically at the silking growth stage of the plant. The new model could help both growers and industry maximize their profits and efficiency.


Photo courtesy of Spyridon Mourtzinis.
Measuring the stem diameter of corn crops.

Forecasting crop yield can be extremely useful for farmers. If they have an idea of the amount of yield they can expect, they can contract their corn prior to harvest, often securing a more competitive price than if they were to wait until after harvest. Likewise, industry can benefit from yield predictions by better planning the logistics of their business. But dependable forecasts can be difficult to find.

Several methods of predicting and modeling crop yields have been used in the past with varying success. Statistical models often don’t take into account characteristics of the plants, the weather, or the management practices limiting their usefulness. Some models are based on information from just a single year or location.

“When you develop a model using single location or year data, it will have limited practical applications,” explains Spyridon Mourtzinis, lead author of the study. “You don’t include variability from multiple environments.”

The new study from Mourtzinis and his co-authors from Auburn University found a more robust model for predicting both corn grain and stover yield. The model uses equations calculated with information about nitrogen fertilization rates, precipitation, and plant morphology, such as plant height, stem diameter, height of the first ear, number of forming ears, and plant population.

“Previous attempts were mainly looking at weather factors,” says Francisco Arriaga, co-author of the study and now an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “This approach has other factors included in the model, and that is an important strength.”

The timing of the measurements is also an important aspect of the model. Mourtzinis took weekly measurements from over 100 plots throughout the growing season to find the best window during which to collect data to be used in the equations. The time-consuming work paid off.

“We looked at all the vegetative states to see which one was best, and it turned out to be the R1 growth stage,” explains Arriaga. “Other models tried to take measurements earlier, but that may be why they had poor results. Things change as the season goes by, and the stage we found was the critical one.”

The R1 or silking growth stage, when silks are first visible outside the husks, is about two to two and half months before harvest. This model, then, would provide predictions early enough to affect crop prices and to allow industries to plan their operations. While even earlier predictions might be possible, they would depend on better forecasting of weather, which can greatly affect yields. Weather changes significantly throughout the growing season, and current forecasts are not dependable.

Another reason that the new model is robust is because data was collected at two different sites in Alabama over three years. The equations used in the current model, then, translated over six sets of data suggesting that it could be used in a variety of environments. Whether that is true is a goal of future experiments.

“It would be interesting to test the equations across a lot more environments now that we know which growth stage to target,” says Arriaga.

Future studies will also test the model with other corn hybrids and management practices. As more data is collected from a variety of environments and growing conditions, the authors are hopeful that the model will continue to be an accurate predictor of corn yield.

“We need to be open-minded,” says Mourtzinis. “The equations might change a bit when we get more data from more environments, but I think we can build on the current model.”

View the abstract at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.2134/agronj2012.0393

To obtain a copy of the complete article, please contact Madeline Fisher at 608-268-3973, mfisher@sciencesocieties.org or Caroline Schneider at 608-268-3976, cschneider@sciencesocieties.org.

Spyridon Mourtzinis
szm0020@tigermail.auburn.edu
The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.2134/agronj2012.0393.

A peer-reviewed international journal of agriculture and natural resource sciences, Agronomy Journal is published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy, with articles relating to original research in soil science, crop science, agroclimatology and agronomic modeling, production agriculture, and software. For more information visit: www.agronomy.org/publications/aj

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Madeline Fisher | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.agronomy.org

Further reports about: Agronomy Stage Acting biofuel industries crop yield growing season

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Earthquake researchers finalists for supercomputing prize

19.11.2018 | Information Technology

Controlling organ growth with light

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>