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New traits boost Northern corn choices

Protecting the yield potential in new corn hybrids has become easier for Northern producers since the introduction of biotech traits. Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Bayer CropScience have all registered various biotech traits for corn and soybeans.

This gives seed companies more choices than ever before to combine traits with elite genetics in corn hybrids. The result is more diverse corn hybrids with one or more traits that will fit Northern production areas. Producers now have the flexibility to select profitable hybrid genetics with the traits that fit conditions across a farming operation.

Top concerns

Generally, Northern producers should be concerned with finding hybrids that have protection against European corn borer, or ECB, the most economically significant insect problem for the region, combined with glyphosate (RR)/glufosinate (LL) herbicide tolerance.

In some areas, protection from white grubs, corn rootworm (CRW), armyworms, stalk borer, corn earworm (CEW) and Western bean cutworm (WBC) should be considered.

Advanced seed treatments that improve insect, disease and nematode protection are an important component of new hybrids with biotech traits. Check with your seed supplier to determine the right seed treatment for your situation.

New hybrids are coming to market that have an additional mode of action for corn borer that provides additional protection against resistance with a reduced refuge requirement. For example, Genuity VT Double Pro and SmartStax have 5% refuge requirements for labeled insects.

New traits

Some of the new trait offerings to consider include:

Agrisure G3/GT3000 with ECB, CRW, LL, RR protection

Agrisure GT/CB/LL with ECB, LL, RR protection

Agrisure CB/LL with ECB and LL protection

Agrisure GT with RR protection

SmartStax with ECB (2), CRW (2), CEW, FAW, WBC, RR2, LL protection and 5% refuge

VT Double Pro with ECB (2), CEW, FAW, RR2 protection and 5% refuge

VT3 with ECB, CRW protection

Herbicide consideration

Producers using Ignite (glufosinate) herbicide for Agrisure and other LL-tolerant hybrids should be aware of the application recommendations that differ from glyphosate:

Ignite, from Bayer CropScience, is a foliar active herbicide with essentially no soil activity and limited translocation. Uniform, thorough spray coverage is essential.

Use 15 to 20 gallons of water per acre. Increase the amount to 20 to 40 gallons per acre if the canopy is dense. Use nozzles and pressure that generate
medium-sized droplets (250-350 microns).

A preemergence, residual herbicide is an important complement to Ignite. Apply Ignite to corn 24-inches tall or in V-7 stage of growth. The Ignite use rate is 22 fluid ounces per acre tank mixed with AMS.

A second application may be needed to control weeds emerging after initial application.

Ignite is rainfast in four hours.Spraying Ignite within two hours of sunset can result in reduced control, particularly of lambsquarters and velvetleaf.

Ignite is a broad-spectrum, nonselective herbicide that has a different mode of action than glyphosate, making it effective on certain glyphosate-resistant species.

Many hybrids have glufosinate and glyphosate tolerance in the trait stack, which limits volunteer corn control options.

Whether you are using a LL or RR trait, applying a residual herbicide at or shortly after planting should be considered a standard practice for good weed and resistance management.

Coultas is a University of Minnesota Extension agronomist.

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This article published in the December, 2010 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.