TAPS Competitions Planted Amid Cool, Wet May
The lingering, cool temperatures and continuous rounds of moisture kept the Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) corn competitions from planting in late April or the first few days of May, as in years past. Even with weather forecasts that were questionable, however, the TAPS program was able to get in the field and plant the corn competitions earlier this month.
In the program’s fifth year, nine seed companies offered their recommendations based on soil reports for each competition field, as well as field history. Participants were able to choose from a total of 37 corn and 16 grain sorghum hybrids for their plots in the sprinkler irrigated corn, subsurface drip irrigated (SDI) corn, and grain sorghum competitions. Competitors could also select a different hybrid not listed by a seed dealer.
Sprinkler Irrigated Corn Competition
In the fifth year of the sprinkler corn competition, 30 teams will compete. Among those teams, 13 different hybrids were selected, representing seven seed companies. Seeding rates ranged from 24,000 to 35,000 seeds per acre with the average at 32,519. This year’s selections ranged in cost from $185 to $285 per bag. More than two-thirds of the teams selected Pioneer hybrids. No teams chose hybrids that were not found on the District Sales Manager (DSM) recommended list, other than one team that used a company not associated with TAPS sponsorship. The sprinkler corn competition was planted May 12 at a depth of 2 inches using a 6-row precision planter. Due to the weather conditions, this is nearly two weeks later than 2020, but similar to other, previous years.
SDI Corn Competition
In the third year of the SDI corn competition, the 16 teams selected 10 different hybrids from six companies. Seeding rates ranged from 28,000 to 34,500 seeds per acre with the average at 32,469. One seed hybrid was selected by six teams, but only one other seed was chosen by more than one team. Three teams chose to plant a hybrid that was not recommended by the seed companies. The SDI corn hybrids cost range was smaller than the sprinkler irrigated corn competition, with a range from $224 to $275 per bag. The SDI competition was planted on May 11 with the same equipment as the sprinkler irrigated corn competition.
The sorghum competition, in its new formatting, allowed the 16 competitors to make decisions for dryland and irrigated plots. Eleven hybrids from five companies were selected for the dryland field, and 10 hybrids from six companies were chosen for the irrigated plots. Four non-recommended hybrids are included in each field. The seeding rates for the dryland ranged from 40,000 to 65,000 seeds per acre with the average at 52,693, whereas the irrigated seeding rates were more varied, from 55,000 to 110,500, and at an average of 85,542. The sorghum hybrids in both portions of the competition ranged from $100 to $210 per bag, with the highest being that of a high protein seed that is being tested. The irrigated and dryland sorghum competition fields were planted on May 26 and 28, respectively.