Learning about corn’s vegetative state and predicting yield

It’s a great time of year to be outside with your students, looking at corn! Adam Staley of Clear Fork High School presented the leaf collar method and yield prediction test to two of his classes, using the school’s Land Lab where the FFA chapter has planted 55 acres of corn.

In these lessons, students can experience what agronomists and other ag workers do in their profession. Staley said, “We discussed how agriculturalists could use both of these methods to make decisions that might affect their bottom line. We also had discussions about the data from the yield prediction lab that would allow farmers to make management decisions earlier, before harvest. They might make a purchase of equipment based on the data, taking a risk that the corn yield will pay it off at harvest. Also, they could use the data to determine early purchases of seed varieties that are a better fit for their area.”

The students enjoyed being outside and conducting the hands-on activities. Hayley Brown said, “It’s nice to have the opportunity for a moment to be in the shoes of an agronomist.“ Hunter Tilton said, “I had no idea how this simple lab to predict yield could have such a huge impact in decision making for seed companies and farmers.” Lauren Mellott plans to use both of the labs with her father at home.

Staley attended the Findlay Feed the World workshop this summer, where he went through these activities and received classroom supplies. These lessons fit with the Ag and Environmental Systems Career Field Pathways of the Science and Technology of Food, Global Economics and Food Markets, and Animal and Plant Science. See our website for these and other useful curriculum!