03 Dec 2021
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Selecting Next Year's Corn Hybrids

Selecting corn hybrids for your farm can be stressful. Making those decisions can be difficult, especially if you had severe drought, wind damage, more heat than normal, less heat than normal, or a number of other things that made your growing season anything but “normal.”  I put “normal” in quotations because, do we really know what “normal” is? Sure, we have multiyear averages for temperatures, rainfall, freeze dates, etc., but all those variables move from year to year. So, given we don’t know what the weather conditions will be next year, how do we efficiently choose hybrids?

Multi-year data

One of the most important areas I like to focus on is looking at multiple years of data when available. Choosing the plot winner from this year may feel like a good bet, but it may just be that, a bet. A gamble with little data to support your decision. The better thing to do is to look at those hybrids that perform well over multiple years. Hybrids that can handle different weather conditions over multiple years and still come in towards the top are good hybrids to start with. Would you rather have a hybrid that runs 300 bu./ac. once every 3 years and 200 bu./ac. the other 2 years, or a hybrid that consistently puts out 250 bu./ac.? Unless you are looking for bragging rights, I’m taking the one that consistently pays the bills and puts money in my pocket. Now, back to that hybrid that won your plot. If that hybrid was also near the top the last few years, then it isn’t so much a gamble and becomes more of an educated decision.

Multi-location data

The next area to look is across multiple locations. Ideally, look for locations with similar soil types and weather conditions you also experience. If you are a dryland farmer with heavy clay soils, then an irrigated plot on sand may not offer you much insight. On the other hand, if you have sandy soil and irrigate, but want a hybrid to plant early or first, then those emergence and vigor scores from the heavy clays may be of interest.

Agronomic Factors

Agronomic factors also may come into play. Are you in an area that typically has a history of Goss’s Wilt, Tar Spot, or other diseases? Are you able to control these diseases by other means, such as a fungicide application? Are you willing to spend the money to make that application? Are you planting into colder soils and seem to always be pushing that 50-degree soil temperature when planting? It is important to factor in these scenarios and look at disease ratings, emergence, vigor, drought tolerance, etc. when making your hybrid selections.

At LG Seeds, we utilize our PCR (Pre-Commercial Research) trials that are replicated along with a database of trials across our territories to provide hybrid data for multiple years on different soil types to better place our products. We also have the Mix Matters tool to help you choose the products that will perform best in your fields based on your needs. Selecting the correct hybrids for your farm can be stressful, but by using the right data you can eliminate some of that stress and have confidence you will have a successful year.