Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Frank F. Bell

Committee Members

William M. Walker, R. S. Dotson, O. H. Long


The average yield of com in Tennessee in 1961 was 43 bushels per acre (45). Present research indicates that the potential average yield, without irrigation and with existing levels of knowledge and technology, is probably in the range of 60 to 80 bushels per acre. Since the potential yield for Tennessee is considerably higher than the present yield, a project was initiated to determine some possible reasons for this situation.

The Tennessee Valley Authority in cooperation with the Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department and the Agronomy Department of the University of Tennessee designed a project known as the Trial Acre. Bradley County was selected as the test county for this study. The objectives of the project were:

1. To ascertain who among farmers currently producing com in the selected county or counties are non-users (defined here as those regularly using less than one-half of the minimal fertilizer recommendation based on soil test).

2. To determine some factors that tend to hinder the adoption of recommended fertilization and production practices.

3. To measure differences in corn yields, production costs, and management factors under specified conditions.

4. To determine the educational effectiveness of the trial-acre method of presenting com fertilizer and associated production practices to non-users in terms of: (a) changed attitudes toward the proper use of fertilizers on corn, (b) increased knowledge concerning the proper use of fertilizer in corn production, and (c) practices adopted following an experimental educational program.

The project was initiated in June, 1960, and is scheduled to be completed during the 1963 fiscal year. Huddleston gives a description of the project and reports the results of part of the work completed by the Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology Department

The objective of the agronomic phase of the program was to measure differences in corn yields using management information from com grown under farmers' management levels and under recommended management levels.

When relevant management factors are determined, farmers can allocate their resources in a manner which will give them the best possible yield for the conditions under which they grow corn. However, they must have information which will assure them that the selection of a given combination of management factors will result, with a high level of probability, in the maximum yield possible for their efforts.

The data and information obtained from the agronomic phase of the Trial Acre program are the basis of the study reported in this thesis. The objectives of this study are three-folds (1) to determine a mathematical relationship^ in terms of a quadratic function, between observed yields and varying levels of selected management factors for each of eight different sets of observations; (2) to develop quadratic prediction equations that are "effective" in predicting com yields for each of these sets of observations; and (3) to make an agronomic interpretation of the findings of this study.

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