Oct 07, 2020

“The selection of corn hybrids we should plant has become more complex as we try to battle weed resistance, insects, diseases, and mother nature,” said John Swanson, Federated agronomist at the Ogilvie location. Swanson maintains that knowing your own priorities is the first step in the process.

Swanson believes growers should start with choosing a maturity range they are comfortable with. “As a rule of thumb, later maturing hybrids tend to have more top end yield potential,” said Swanson. So, growers need to ask themselves if they are willing to have possibly wetter corn in exchange for more bushels? Are they willing to spend more money on dryer gas?”

Then, Swanson recommends picking the trait package needed, and with that choice growers have additional questions to answer:

  • Is a conventional hybrid an option? Swanson noted that in the absence of a pest, conventional hybrids will yield just as well as traited hybrids, but conventional hybrids demand good weed control and insect management plans.
  • How about a seed product that is glyphosate tolerant (Round-up Ready®/GT)? “Again, this means we may have to plan for insect management,” said Swanson.
  • What about seed with an above-ground protection trait, such as VT2P (Bayer®) and 3120 or 3220 (Syngenta®)? These options may leave the plants vulnerable below ground, again requiring good insect management.
  • How about a hybrid traited with above and below ground protection, such as SmartStax (Bayer) and Duracade® hybrids (Syngenta)?  These multi-traited seeds can serve growers well, if they meet grower priorities.       

“Next, I like to focus on soil type,” said Swanson. “I try to match the hybrid to the type of soil” in the fields.  Hybrids are rated for drought tolerance, emergence, seedling vigor and roots, so growers can align hybrids with soil types.

The final consideration for hybrid selections, according to Swanson, is disease ratings, stalk quality, test weight and ear flex. Again, grower priorities are the focus. Review past seasons to see what issues have been of concern. Weigh the options and move on from there.

As Swanson said, “These are complicated decisions … you can utilize your local Federated Agronomist to help you sort through it all.”

Get seed orders in soon for the best options and pricing. See related article on seed financing.

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