I was delighted to see the article 4-Her: 304 bushel corn set world record in the May 22 issue of Delta Farm Press because of the enormous impact that accomplishment had on the thinking and planning within the Department of Agronomy at Cornell University.
I began graduate work at Cornell in June 1956. When I arrived, the whole department was engaged in a great discussion along the lines of, “If a kid in Mississippi can grow a 300-bushel corn crop, what is the theoretical maximum possible yield?”
The agronomists there mounted a very large field plot experiment to determine this. At least a dozen master's and PhD theses and refereed journal articles resulted from that research endeavor.
In my second and third year there, my major professor (Robert Musgrave) took a sabbatical leave in the Philippines and, since I had a farm background, I was moved from a half-time graduate assistantship to a full-time technician's job tending that and other field crop experiments.
Thanks again for the article — it contained a lot of facts I was unaware of.
(Editor's note: The experiments Baker mentions, which later resulted in a decision to “take the laboratory to the field,” eventually led to the development of crop simulation models, including the GOSSYM model for cotton development. That work is described in a publication, GOSSYM: The Story Behind The Model, which is available online at http://pestdata.ncsu.edu/cottonpickin/models/GOSSYM.pdf ).