Farm Progress

From soil types to harvest timing, several factors impact how hybrids will live up to high-yield expectations.

Jill Loehr, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

January 19, 2017

2 Min Read
PLANT WISELY: “If you put a hybrid on the right acre, it will be phenomenal,” says Justin Parks, area manager with Burrus Hybrids. “Plant a hybrid on the wrong acre, it could be a disaster.”

Do you know which fields are the best fit for the hybrids you ordered? For farmers finalizing their hybrid selection and placement, Justin Parks, area manager with Burrus Hybrids, advises thinking about where the seed is going and the field conditions it may be planted in.

“Seed placement is a big topic right now,” Parks says. “We’re past the days of any corn plant being corn.” Hybrids perform better when placed in the right fields, he explains. 

“If you put a hybrid on the right acre, it will be phenomenal,” Parks says. “Plant a hybrid on the wrong acre, it could be a disaster.”

How do you ensure optimum hybrid placement? Brent Tharp, agronomy and product training manager for Wyffels Hybrids, provides six factors to consider for matching hybrids to the right fields and conditions:

1.Soil-type dynamics. For poorly drained soils, without tile drainage, look for hybrids with good stalk strength, Tharp explains. In sandy, nonirrigated soils, he recommends planting a hybrid with ear flex to help compensate for the lower planting populations typically used in that environment. For other soil types and field conditions, Tharp advises contacting your seed rep or referring to your seed guide for optimum ratings and recommendations.

2. Planting population puzzle. Every hybrid handles planting populations differently, Tharp says. Check with your seed rep to find out if you can push populations, or pull back, with a particular hybrid.

3. Harvest timing and maturity mix. What? Make a harvest schedule in January? Tharp says fields scheduled for a later harvest need hybrids with solid late-season standability and agronomic ratings. Planting a mix of different genetics and maturities also helps manage potential risk from heat stress during pollination, he notes. He recommends planting a hybrid maturity mix of 25% early, 50% mid and 25% late.

4. Continuous corn conundrum. “Corn on corn is generally a more stressful environment,” Tharp notes. Match fields of continuous corn with a hybrid rated for high-stress tolerance and a solid disease package.

5. No-till needs. No-till fields with heavy residue take longer to dry and warm up, Tharp says. A hybrid with strong early season vigor and emergence ratings is ideal.

6. Field history features. Tharp recommends grabbing last season’s scouting notes and ensuring proper trait protection against corn rootworm, if needed. Fields with a history of grey leaf spot, Goss’s wilt or other common diseases should be matched with tolerant genetics.

Did you have weed escapes last year? Despite herbicide-resistance challenges, glyphosate still provides an effective rescue option on grass escapes, Tharp notes. Make sure your trait package aligns with your weed control needs.

Hybrid selection and placement can be overwhelming with the abundance of genetics and trait options available, Tharp adds. He stresses the importance of a good relationship with a trusted seed dealer to help guide your final placement decisions.


About the Author(s)

Jill Loehr

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer, Loehr

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