Peter Thomison, OSU corn agronomist, recently offered the following tips for growers choosing a corn hybrid for 2014. Hybrid selection is one of the most important management decisions a corn grower makes each year, he says. It’s a decision that warrants a careful comparison of performance data. It should not be made in haste or based on limited data.
“Planting a marginal hybrid, or one not suitable for a particular production environment, imposes a ceiling on the yield potential of a field before it has been planted,” Thomison says. “In the Ohio Corn Performance Test it is not unusual for hybrid entries of similar maturity to differ in yield by 80 bushel per acre, or more, depending on test site.”
Thomison urges growers to choose hybrids best suited to their farm operation. Corn acreage, previous crop, soil type, tillage practices, desired harvest moisture, and pest problems determine the relative importance of such traits as dry down, insect and disease resistance, herbicide resistance, early plant vigor, etc. End uses of corn should also be considered - is corn to be used for grain or silage? Is it to be sold directly to the elevator as shelled grain or used on the farm? Are there premiums available at nearby elevators, or from end users, for identity-preserved (IP) specialty corns such as food grade or non-GMO corn? Capacity to harvest, dry and store grain also needs consideration.
The following are some tips to consider in choosing hybrids that are best suited to various production systems.
1. Select hybrids with maturity ratings appropriate for your geographic area or circumstances.
2. Choose hybrids that have produced consistently high yields across a number of locations.
3. Plant hybrids with good standability to minimize stalk lodging (stalk breakage below the ear).
4. Select hybrids with resistance and/or tolerance to stalk rots, foliar diseases, and ear rots.
5. Never purchase a hybrid without consulting performance data.
To assess a hybrid’s yield averaged across multiple Ohio test sites consult the “Combined Regional Summary of Hybrid Performance” tables available online.
Read a full report on hybrids from Thomison.