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Look for consistency when selecting hybrids

Tom J. Bechman Auger moving corn
CONSISTENCY COUNTS: Which hybrid dumps the most corn into the grain cart consistently over time counts more than which hybrid tops a plot in any one year.
Odds are low that your top corn hybrid this year will be the top one again next year.

Even if you’re not a person who likes to gamble, perhaps you’re up for a friendly wager occasionally. Maybe the prize is a steak dinner. If so, Mike Kavanaugh says betting on which hybrid will yield best in 2021 based on which hybrid topped your plot in 2020 is a wager you might want to shy away from.

Why? Because Kavanaugh, agronomy manager for AgriGold, says the odds are only slightly better than 1 in 10 that you’ll be right. Based on long-term real-world data, a hybrid that wins a plot in any given season repeats as the winner in that plot the next year just over 1 in 10 times.

He notes that after analyzing 6,500 corn hybrids with 10 or more hybrids in a plot since 2011, the hybrid that won one year repeated as the top-yielding hybrid in the same plot the next year only 735 times. That calculates out to 11.2% of the time.

“We believe it’s much more important to look for consistency in how a hybrid performs,” he says. Looking through many plots at various locations over time and picking out hybrids that are usually near the top, but not always the top hybrid, is much more productive, Kavanaugh says.

Mike KavanaughFIND BEST MATCH: Mike Kavanaugh, agronomy manager for AgriGold, suggests looking for hybrids that best match your soils and your farm.

He explains that the goal at AgriGold is to offer a package of unique hybrids. Your goal should be to differentiate between them and select ones matched best for your farm, he adds.

Each growing season is unique and offers a different set of conditions compared to the year before, especially today, Kavanaugh says. Agronomists at AgriGold use digital tools to help point growers toward hybrids that should be best suited to the coming season.

You can hear Kavanaugh explain these concepts by visiting the Farm Progress Virtual Experience at

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