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Master of Agribusiness

Response to Population in Corn Hybrids with Specific Characteristics

Nate Schroeder, Gretna, Neb., defended his thesis, “Response to Population in Corn Hybrids with Specific Characteristics,” on February 18, 2013. Schroeder is employed by Frontier Cooperative in Mead, Neb. He graduated from Kansas State University in May with a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree. 

As the world population increases, trying to determine how to feed more than 7 billion people is a problem farmers are working to solve.  Farmers are responsible for producing more food on the same number of acres, so developing ways to increase yield is imperative. Schroeder analyzed the effectiveness of increasing corn plant population for increasing yield.

“Models estimated that increasing plant population from 30,000 to 40,000 plants per acres resulted in an 8.5 bushel increase under normal weather conditions,” Schroeder said. “At a corn price greater than $4.58 per bushel, this would’ve made economic sense for producers even with the increased seed cost.”

Other avenues that could be examined to determine how these factors affect yield include row spacing, soil type and fertility recommendations. However, studying the effect of plant population is an important first step in increasing yield.

Allen Featherstone, Professor of Agricultural Economics and Schroeder’s thesis advisor, said, “Nathan did excellent analysis studying the effect of plant population and different hybrid traits on corn yield. This thesis is an excellent base to study the response of yield to different seed corn traits.”

K-State’s Master of Agribusiness (www.mab.ksu.edu) is an award-winning, distance-education degree program that focuses on food and agribusiness management. Students and alumni work in every sector of the food and agribusiness industry and are located in 40 states within the United States and in more than 25 countries. 

“I found the MAB program to be a very enjoyable experience. The thesis project provided an opportunity to research specifics inside my industry that I would not have done otherwise,” Schroeder said.