does corn test weight increase


Does Corn Test Weight Increase

Corn test weight has always been a topic of interest for farmers and researchers alike. Understanding whether or not corn test weight can increase is crucial for determining the quality and value of corn. In this article, we will explore various factors that contribute to the increase or decrease of corn test weight and shed light on the significance of this measurement in the agricultural industry.

The Basics of Corn Test Weight

Corn test weight refers to the weight of a given volume of corn, typically measured in pounds per bushel (lb/bu). It is an essential metric as it provides insights into the density and compactness of corn kernels, which can affect both yield and quality. Corn with higher test weight is generally associated with better feeding quality, improved potential for processing, and increased market value.

The test weight of corn is influenced by multiple factors, including genetics, environmental conditions, farming practices, and crop management techniques. Understanding these factors can help farmers optimize their cultivation methods to achieve higher test weights and ultimately enhance their profitability.

Genetics and Hybrid Selection

Genetics play a vital role in determining corn test weight. Different corn hybrids exhibit varying test weights due to inherent genetic variations. When selecting corn hybrids, farmers should consider the desired test weight specific to their farming practices and region. Certain hybrids are known to consistently produce higher test weights, while others may have lower test weights but excel in other traits.

It is important to note that corn test weight is not solely determined by genetics, as environmental conditions and agricultural practices significantly influence the final results. However, selecting hybrids with proven higher test weights can provide a favorable starting point for achieving better results.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors such as weather conditions throughout the growing season can significantly impact corn test weight. Adequate moisture during the early stages of development is crucial for establishing a strong root system and promoting optimal photosynthesis. Insufficient rainfall or extended periods of drought can negatively affect corn growth, leading to reduced test weight.

Similarly, extreme temperatures, especially during key growth stages like flowering and grain fill, can impair the pollination process and reduce kernel formation, resulting in lower test weights. Corn plants that experience stress from high temperatures may redirect their resources towards survival rather than seed development, leading to smaller, less dense kernels.

Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management

The availability and balance of essential nutrients in the soil greatly influence corn test weight. Nutrient deficiencies or imbalances can hinder plant growth and development, ultimately impacting the weight and quality of the harvested corn. Adequate levels of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients are crucial for optimal corn production.

Soil testing and subsequent nutrient management strategies can help farmers identify and address nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. Balanced fertilization plans tailored to the specific needs of corn crops can promote healthier plants and increase the chances of achieving higher test weights. Additionally, proper soil management practices, such as maintaining appropriate pH levels and organic matter content, can support optimum nutrient availability and uptake.

Water Management

Proper water management is vital for achieving higher corn test weights. While water scarcity can hamper growth and lead to reduced test weights, excessive water can also be detrimental. Excessive rainfall or poorly drained fields can result in waterlogged soils, which may restrict oxygen flow to the roots, hamper nutrient absorption, and encourage diseases.

Adopting efficient irrigation practices can help farmers regulate water supply and prevent water stress during critical growth stages. Techniques like precision irrigation and soil moisture monitoring can aid in providing adequate water levels to the plants while minimizing wastage. Consistent and optimized soil moisture levels contribute to healthier plants, robust root development, and improved test weight.

Timing and Practices of Harvesting

The timing and practices of harvesting can impact corn test weight. Harvesting corn when it has reached the appropriate maturity stage ensures optimal test weight. Delaying harvest beyond maturity can result in kernel drydown, leading to lower test weights due to kernel shattering and potential mold development.

Additionally, utilizing proper harvesting equipment and techniques is essential. Combines equipped with specialized corn headers and rotor configuration can minimize kernel damage during harvesting, preserving both weight and quality. It is crucial to promptly dry and store harvested corn to prevent moisture loss or excessive moisture absorption, which can affect test weight.


Corn test weight is a vital metric in the agricultural industry, providing insights into the quality and value of corn. While genetics play a role in determining test weight, environmental factors, soil fertility, water management, and harvesting practices also significantly influence the final results.

To maximize test weight, farmers should strive for an optimal balance of these factors. Selecting corn hybrids with higher test weights, managing soil fertility and nutrient levels, adopting precision irrigation, and employing proper harvesting techniques are all key strategies that farmers can implement to enhance their chances of achieving higher corn test weights. By paying attention to these factors, farmers can optimize their corn production, improve profitability, and meet the quality standards demanded by the market.


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