University of Minnesota Extension Agronomist Jeff Coulter’s top six tips on selecting corn hybrids for 2018 are:
1. Pick hybrids that rank high across the region. Hybrids that consistently perform well over multiple locations or years in a region are preferred because next year’s growing conditions are uncertain. Consider trial results from multiple sources, including universities, grower associations, seed companies and on-farm strip trials. There may be variety trial data from neighboring state universities that might be relevant to you.
2. Identify an acceptable maturity range based on the growing degree days (GDDs) required for a hybrid to reach maturity at your farm. Hybrids should reach maturity at least 10 days before the first average freeze to allow time for grain drydown and to provide a buffer in a cool year or if planting is delayed.
3. Select multiple hybrids of varying maturity to spread risk and widen the harvest interval. Very full-season hybrids do not consistently outyield mid-season hybrids in the Dakotas and Minnesota. There is more grain yield variability among hybrids in a given relative maturity group than there is between maturity groups.
4. Select hybrids according to agronomic traits including suitability for a given crop rotation, emergence, root strength, standability, and tolerance to diseases, drought, insect pests and herbicides. Standability is a key trait if higher planting rates are used and if there are dry (or maybe very wet) late-season conditions.
5. Take advantage of early-order seed discounts. It may be difficult in some cases to get, or to want to use, credit for early seed purchases. Creditors who know they are working with a farm for an operating loan for the next crop might encourage taking advantage of early-order discounts.
6. If trying to reduce seed costs by selecting conventional hybrids, consider whether these hybrids have competitive yields in the absence of pest pressure and be aware that they may require additional scouting and management. Be sure to use a diligent scouting process to know what is happening in your fields and follow best practices for Integrated Pest Management.
Source: University of Minnesota Extension