The Tri-State Conservation Tillage Conference continues to be a source of good information for area producers, extension educators and agribusiness professionals.
Producers from New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania have made this a popular event since 1998.
This year about 140 attended the annual event Jan. 25, which has always been held at the Radisson Inn, West Middlesex, Pa.
Lessons. The 2005 conference featured “Lessons in the Quest for High Yields, Greater Profits and Saved Soil,” a presentation by Tony Vyn, an agronomist with Purdue University.
Vyn, a native of Ontario, conducts research in Indiana and Ontario.
Progress. Vyn spoke about progress in the improvement of corn yields since 1988. He cited National Corn Growers champion yields during this period as an indicator of the yield potential of hybrids plus improvements in management.
Champion corn yields have risen from 230 bushels per acre in 1988 to 340 bushels per acre in 2004, which Vyn says means the potential of current corn hybrids is 310-330.
Management improvements are a major factor in this increase, according to Vyn, because nonirrigated contest yields now are about equal to irrigated contest yields.
Major factor. Vyn says one of the major factors in yield improvements has been the genetic improvement that has bred more stress tolerance into today’s best hybrids.
Other factors in improved yields include better seed treatment products, better planters, and better fertility management.
Vyn cited research from Purdue on the effects of cropping systems on corn yields.
In a 30-year study, corn yields were analyzed in corn/soybean rotations, compared to continuous corn, under various tillage systems.
Conclusions. This research causes me to draw several conclusions about tillage systems and crop rotations:
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