What is The Pioneer® Yield Pyramid™ Decision Tool?

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We’re glad you asked! Because our Pioneer agronomy team has spent over a decade gathering on-farm data to create a comprehensive method to help take your corn yields higher than they’ve ever been before. Site-specific weather and soils data from over 70,000 locations were used to create genetic environment management (GEM) zones. We’re exploring 1 of ten of those zones, the Eastern Corn Belt.

How Do I Use It?

The Yield Pyramid is designed to be used with your local Pioneer field agronomist who will help you fine-tune the recommendations and make sure that your efforts are always providing the best value in achieving your yield goals. Used successfully, the Yield Pyramid is a scientific framework that improves average yield by focusing on what matters most to your operation.

1. ID your GEM zone

Based on your geography, you’re in the Eastern Corn Belt, but be sure to verify with your agronomist if any conditions specific to your location are different.

2. ID your pyramid level

Determine where your field or farm falls on the pyramid. There are five tiers to the Yield Pyramid, representing five different yield levels as well as the crop inputs and management practices associated within each level.

3. Spot your gaps

Compare your management practices and yields with each yield level. Here you’ll determine if there are differences or gaps in your current crop management program compared to management associated with each yield level.

4. Begin planning

Once you’ve figured out where your operation is at, you can begin to develop a plan for moving up the Yield Pyramid and increasing yield.

5. Pick your focuses

Prioritize the most important variables. Crop management variables are ranked for your Eastern Corn Belt GEM zone. This will optimize your efforts and investment.

6. Get your action items

You’ll get a suggested list of action items which you can fine-tune with your local Pioneer agronomist.

Features of the Eastern Corn Belt

The Eastern Corn Belt is characterized by:

  • Highly productive soils
  • Drainage or drought may be issues · High humidity raises likelihood of foliar diseases
  • Typical weather patterns include wet springs and hotter, dryer weather during grain fill
  • High nighttime temperatures may increase grain fill stress

Eastern U.S. GEM Zones

Map - Eastern U.S. GEM zones

What management and nutrient variables most affected yield?

Data collected in the Eastern Corn Belt gives us a clearer picture of what variables caused yields to vary. A higher Yield Index Value in the charts below for a variable mean that there was more yield variability among locations that had a lot of variability in that cropping factor.

Chart - Management variables affecting yield

Population had the most influence on yield. In general, higher populations were associated with higher yields. Yields could be further improved by increasing population specifically according to yield goal and hybrid population recommendations.


Chart - nutrient variables affecting yield

Where do you fall on the Yield Pyramid?

Your Pioneer Field Agronomist is ready to get to work on identifying where your operation falls on the Yield Pyramid. Before you meet, here’s a quick checklist to gauge your Yield Pyramid level and where to focus your efforts.

Level 1

  • Do I have well-adapted hybrids for my location?
  • Am I applying P, K and soil pH correction based on recommendations?
  • Am I applying 1.2 lb of N per bu of yield goal applied pre-plant?

Level 2

  • Am I planting into conditions right for my soil type?
  • Do I have a plan to manage N-availability and to minimize losses?
  • Do I have a comprehensive weed and pest management strategy?

Level 3

  • Is my planting population based on hybrid recommendation but also targeting 32,800/acre minimum?
  • Is my hybrid taking full advantage of the growing season?
  • Do I have a plan for foliar disease?

Level 4

  • Am I using tissue testing to build-up nutrients?
  • Are my fertilizer placements at the right time for maximum nutrient availability?
  • Could diversifying crop rotation help with any nutrient issues?


My Local Pioneer Team

Our unmatched team of local professionals live and work in your community. They’re ready to help you select products with superior yield potential and provide year-round service and expertise. Have questions? Ask your local Pioneer sales representative today.

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