Transgenic volunteer corn is a competitive weed in soybean that decreases soybean yield at densities as low as 0.5 plants m−2, yet the competitive effects of volunteer corn in corn have yet to be quantified in the peer-reviewed literature. In order to quantify competition between volunteer corn and hybrid corn, seed was harvested from transgenic hybrid corn. The seed was then hand-planted at two locations (Lafayette, IN and Wanatah, IN) into 3 by 9 m plots of hybrid corn at five densities: 0 (control), 0.5, 2, 4, and 8 plants m−2. Volunteer corn competition reduced leaf area and biomass of hybrid corn plants. Hybrid corn grain yield at Lafayette, IN, was reduced by 23 and 22% due to competition with volunteer corn growing in densities of 8 plants m−2 in 2010 and 2011, respectively, but when volunteer corn grain yield was combined with the hybrid corn grain yield, there was no reduction in total grain yield. This study demonstrates that the competitive effects on the grain yield of the hybrid corn will be offset by the grain yield of the volunteer plants. However, because the unpredictable locations and densities of volunteer corn plants present challenges to machine harvesting, future studies should examine what proportion of the volunteer crop is actually harvestable.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate, corn, Zea mays L., Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner.