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Corn hybrid selection checklist

Jeff Caldwell 10/25/2011 @ 8:34am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

What can this year's corn crop teach you for next year? Whatever you took from this year's crop, make sure you apply it to your hybrid selections for 2012, even if you are buying early.

Some farmers faced drought conditions at points throughout the growing season, while others faced too much water. Don't neglect these water extremes when you talk to your seed dealer, says Purdue University Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen.

"We all want to take those mental notes as we're harvesting, but it's important to be cautious about overreacting," he says in a university report. "Hybrid performance in a single field, good or bad, is only a single snapshot of its potential. Acceptable hybrids for your farm are those that exhibit high yields over a wide variety of growing conditions. The hybrid doesn't have to win every trial, but it should be near the top of all of them."

Look for your seed company's published variety trial data, as well as university yield information, like Purdue's Crop Performance Program, Nielsen says.

"If this year's variety trial results are not yet available when you are ready to order hybrids for next year, do not hesitate to consult published results from the previous year," he says. "Good hybrids, ones that tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, remain in the marketplace for several years."

A few factors to take into consideration when buying your seed, Nielsen says, include:

  • Disease resistance (northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot are 2 examples of major ones in Nielsen's state of Indiana)
  • Water extremes resistance (both drought and excess rainfall)
  • Yield performance
  • Consistency
  • Shelling ease
  • Ear-to-stalk attachment strength

"Growers should consider personal preferences based on their equipment and storage needs," Nielsen adds.

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