For farmers in the Delta and Southeast regions there is a moment of peace as harvest comes to a close. However, as all farmers know, that moment doesn’t last long. Soon, farmers will need to begin planning for spring and evaluating which products performed best in their fields last season. Making decisions about what products to use can be a daunting task, one that takes time, assessment and research.
What to consider when planning for next season
The product choice decision for the upcoming season involves factors ranging from yield number to weather to weeds. Unfortunately, no one can predict the future, and predicting what will work where is not always an easy task. Luckily, Asgrow and DEKALB breeders look specifically at issues and patterns that farmers come across over the season in specific regions. They then use that data to make recommendations for the upcoming season and get to work on products that can be beneficial to farmers in the future.
Responding to southern rust in corn
According to Rebecca Eller, a Delta region Monsanto breeder for DEKALB corn, a major issue in some Southern states this year was southern rust, a complex disease affecting the area’s corn crop. In Coastal region areas like Texas, the Carolinas and Georgia, it is hard to predict when this disease will strike and is difficult to treat if it gets too severe. According to Eller, southern rust is “a full-ear disease that causes discoloration on the leaves and can lead to poor grain quality.” Preparing for this disease is not an easy task as it comes around the area every three or so years, and depends on how much inoculum is traveling up from the south and if the weather cooperates that season. The impact is significant when the disease hits, and this year was no exception.
Despite non-ideal conditions and disease risks, Eller noted a few varieties of DEKALB corn that did exceptionally well this past season. DKC62-08 RIB brand blend, an early maturing product, responded well to irrigation. DKC66-87 RIB brand blend was another of Eller’s top picks as an outstanding product due to its ability to withstand the tough conditions of the Delta region.
One particular DEKALB corn variety caught Eller’s eye as a product recommendation for the upcoming season. DKC69-29 RIB brand blend had a great year due to the fact that it is one of the latest maturing varieties, allowing the plant to flower early and avoid some of the stress that earlier maturing varieties fall prey to. This product really allows the plant to take advantage of the longer growing season Southeast region crops have by avoiding heat stress during pollination — a critical time for the crop.
Asgrow/DEKALB breeders remain hard at work
With proven products standing up to the tough and complex diseases and weather conditions, Monsanto breeders are now tasked with the challenge of coming up with new and better products for farmers, as diseases become more resistant and weather becomes less predictable.
Currently in market development trials, DKC68-92 RIB brand blend will be the next success story for Southern corn and farmers who rotate corn and cotton. Since the plant has a bigger canopy, it will adapt easier to those wider rows from the cotton rotation. In addition, “it is a good dry-land option,” Eller noted, adding that when this product is available to farmers in the next growing season, it will work really well in the tougher environments farmers in the Southeast and Delta regions operate in.
Southern rust-tolerant corn developmental trials next season
To combat southern rust, Monsanto’s DEKALB breeders have been working on a new variety of corn that will tolerate the disease. Since the disease it so unpredictable and difficult to treat, this breeding innovation will reduce the need to spray fungicide, giving farmers back some control of their acres. Farmers will have an exciting new product to look forward to as this product reaches market development trails in the next year.
When it comes to upcoming products, DEKALB and Asgrow are committed to the research and testing that ensures a quality product and strong yield. Looking forward to the next growing season, farmers can be confident in the products they plant.
For more information, work with your expert Asgrow/DEKALB dealer or visit agSeedSelect.com.