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Do your homework when selecting corn varieties

It's hard to resist eye-popping high yield potential when selecting corn hybrids. But, don't forget other key traits when selecting your varieties for the next crop year, one specialist says. And, don't base your selections only on what's worked in your neighborhood.

"Variety selection is not about identifying which lines did best over the past year -- it is about predicting which lines will do best in the future," says Iowa State University agronomist and Iowa Crop Improvement Association director Jim Rouse. "Predictive information for yield potential should come only from multi-environment trial averages. Since it is highly unlikely that next season's conditions will be the same as those in any single-location report, you will increase your probability of success by selecting a variety that can perform well in many environments."

Bearing this fact in mind, Rouse advises considering a few key variety characteristics in making your variety selections:

  1. Only multiple-location data should be used to make predictive selection decisions.
  2. Yield trials do not have to be performed on your farm, on your soil type, or even under your crop rotation scheme to provide relevant data.
  3. Sort the data by yield. Make initial selections based on yield and appropriate maturity.
  4. Once you have a pool of candidates, sort among these to identify lines that have the desired mix of defensive traits.
  5. More information is better information, so use all reliable sources of data.

"Because variety selection is a multi-step process the most effective approach will incorporate several sources of information," Rouse adds.

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It's hard to resist eye-popping high yield potential when selecting corn hybrids. But, don't forget other key traits when selecting your varieties for the next crop year, one specialist says. And, don't base your selections only on what's worked in your neighborhood.

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