A whole generation farming now grew up watching TV commercials during their favorite Saturday morning westerns that went something like this: "Choosy mothers choose Jif." It was an advertisement for Jif peanut butter. If you apply that philosophy to picking not only the hybrid but also the size and grade of seed corn you want to plant, you may not be able to be as choosy as those mothers of yesteryear in 2012.
Companies say seed supplies will be adequate for corn. However, they don't say not only which hybrids, but which grades and sizes, will be available for you to purchase. It's why you need to be talking with your seed representative almost on a daily business if you're truly set on getting the hybrid and type of seed you want.
Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., expects larger seed this year. That often happens when pollination is spotty. Kernels have more room to grow and aren't crowded on the cob. So whether you like planting large seed or not, if you want certain hybrids, you may not have as many options this season.
You also may have to settle in some cases for large rounds if you want a certain hybrid, even if you're not a fan of planting large rounds. In a year when seed production is down due to drought stress, the butt kernels and scattered kernels that had plenty of room to grow tend to be a higher percentage of large rounds, he notes.
Large seed is thought to be a good thing by many people. Some believe that large seed has more food for the young seedling stored inside once it germinates, and can get it off to a fast start. However, large rounds is a different matter.
If you haven't planted large rounds before, you may need to read about the correct setting in your planter manual, especially for air vacuum planers. You may also want to attend clinics or visit with your planter specialist at a dealership to determine what settings are best for planting large rounds.
The flexibility to get exactly what you want just isn't likely going to be there this spring, Nanda concludes. It may be a year where you go with the flow.