Is a hybrid you're planting in field Y both Roundup and Liberty -tolerant? Todd Jeffries, Seed Consultants, Inc., sales rep in southeast Indiana, says the best way to make sure is to read the seed tags attached to the bag. With so many traits and so many combinations, the only way you will know for sure is take age-old advice and read the label. Today, that may mean reading several labels. Most companies are attaching labels for various traits that are part of the seed, and sometimes they also include tags for seed treatments that may have been applied to the seed as well.
If you're growing non-GMO hybrids, you won't see all those tags in the case of most companies. But if you're after a premium, it may be just as important for you to read the bag as anyone else. You want to make sure that the seed you plant is non-GMO, so that you can get the premium you're after form the market that wants non-GMO corn. Most of the points receiving non-GMO grain test for GMOs, so there is little tolerance for error.
One thing you can learn from tags on GMO seed this year is what refuge is required, and for which pests. Depending upon which brands you're planting, the refuge requirements will be different. This is the first year that many companies will be selling refuge-in-a-bag concept corn, but most companies will also still be selling hybrids that require a refuge. Sometimes it may be refuge to cover both above and below ground pests. In other cases refuge may be needed just for one pest. It can make a difference in what type of hybrid you plant for the refuge in cases where refuge hybrids are still needed.
It's important to read the tag of hybrids planted as the refuge corn as well, seedsmen say. Make sure it is the proper type of refuge hybrid so you meet your legal requirement to leave refuge. Leaving refuge is also a matter of stewardship, notes Dave Nanda, an independent consultant and also director of genetics and technology with Seed Consultants, Inc.
Nanda recently completed a series of articles detailing how pests of all kinds respond through mutations to overcome various traits meant to defeat the pest. It always happens more quickly when farmers overuse the trait meant to stop the bug, and stay in a monoculture, growing the same crop every year.