Corn Hybrid Selection Should be Based on Multiple Sources
Minnesota corn growers who are now making decisions concerning hybrid selection can review results from the 2013 University of Minnesota corn grain performance trials here. These trials were conducted at multiple locations across Minnesota to provide unbiased and replicated information on the performance of numerous hybrids for growers and their advisors.
Another source of corn hybrid information is the Minnesota Corn Growers variety plot program which has been updated to provide the following features and tools for individuals to use when comparing corn grain hybrids. Select whole counties or individual plots within a county to include in reports. Compare multiple county plot reports on one screen. New map feature showing where the county/plot is located in Minnesota. Corn harvest reports from cooperators include “Return after Drying” information for the individual plots.
Dr. Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension Corn Specialist, recommends when selecting hybrids, it is best to choose hybrids that perform well over multiple locations in a region. Consistent performance over multiple locations with different soil and weather conditions is critical because we cannot predict next year's growing conditions. A hybrid that performs well over multiple growing conditions in one year has a high potential for performing well in the same region next year.
To reduce risk, growers and their advisors are encouraged to select hybrids based on trial results from multiple sources, including universities, grower associations, seed companies, and on-farm strip trials. Results from unbiased and replicated trials that include multiple entries from different companies are of particular importance. Following are some considerations for grain hybrid selection. Hybrid selection begins with relative maturity (RM). Identify an acceptable maturity range based on the number of growing degree days (GDDs) required for a hybrid to reach physiological maturity (black layer). Selected hybrids should reach maturity at least 10 days before the first average freeze to allow time for grain dry-down and to provide a buffer against a cool year or late planting.
Plant multiple hybrids of varying maturity to spread risk and widen the harvest interval. Very full-season grain hybrids do not consistently out-yield mid-season grain hybrids in Minnesota. There is more variability in grain yield among hybrids within a given RM rating than there is between maturity groups. Hybrids also should be selected according to agronomic traits including emergence, root strength, disease tolerance, standability, and the need for transgenic resistance to insects and herbicides within a given production system. Standability is a key trait if higher seeding rates are used and late-season conditions are dry.