Many of you harvested top yields last year, especially with corn. What do you do for an encore?
The best answer would be to dial in similar weather conditions to last year. Unfortunately that's beyond your control. So instead, what other things can you do to set up the possibility for top yields if the weather cooperates?
Dave Nanda offers five tips. The plant breeder is currently Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc.
1. Spread risk. Plant at least three hybrids of different maturity on your farm. Be sure you're getting hybrids from different genetic families. The best way to do that is to buy most of your seed from a single reliable seed company that delivers good value.
2. Make use of the season. Plant 70% full-season hybrids for your area. Finish your line-up with 20% medium-maturing hybrids, and 10% early maturing hybrids. If it's too late to juggle your line-up this year, keep it in mind for next year.
3. Pick healthy hybrids. Ask for hybrids with good resistance to diseases which are prevalent in your area. The hybrids you chose will be more likely to succeed if they are noted for excellent standability.
4. Use calenderization. What is that? Is it a real word? Nanda says it's in his vocabulary because it's an easy way to describe how he recommends planting sequence in the spring. Plant full-season hybrids first so they can mature on time. Plant early hybrids next and plant medium maturity hybrids last. To make this work, you'll need to plant early.
5. Keep flowering date in mind. Ask for hybrids with flowering synchrony. In other words, if you're planting two hybrids in a field, pick hybrids that shed pollen and silk at about the same time. Here, "about" is a key word. You may want two to three days' difference in flowering time to spread risk, Nanda concludes.
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