So how do you go about selecting the best hybrids for your farm? First make a check list of things that are important for your farm and then select hybrids on a field by field basis using the following criteria:
1. Soil type: Sandy, loam, clay, organic matter content, pH, does it crust easily?
2. Performance consistency to varying environments
3. Drainage: Surface or tile, variable or uniform, flat, rolling or river bottoms
4. Soil adaptability: This is especially important for farms with variable soils
5. No-till or conventional tillage, or some combination of the two?
6. Dryer availability: Or will grain have to dry in the field?
7. Row width – 12, 15, 20, 30 inch or twin rows. Can hybrids with population tolerance be used? Are your trying twin-row, 30 inch rows, or maybe the new twin-row, 20 inch row concept?
8. Previous crop: Certain hybrids are not recommended for corn after corn
9. Previous herbicide used: Conventional, glyphosate, Liberty or other post products – which were applied? Which residual herbicides were applied, at what rate and when?
10. Herbicide to be used in '16: Conventional, glyphosate, Liberty or residual herbicides?
11. Insects or diseases prevalent in the area: Which are typically the most troublesome?
12. Crop intended use: Silage, grain, ethanol, waxy, white, non-GMO market, EU-approved GMO or will the grain have to be channeled? Ask all these questions.
13. If a GMO hybrid, which herbicide is to be used and which insects are targeted?
14. Foliar fungicides: Which diseases are important in your area? Are disease-resistant hybrids available for your area?
15. Hybrid maturity suitable for your area: Should you pick a range of maturities?
This is an impressive list, but it's only half of the recommended items Nanda says you should consider when selecting a hybrid. Here's the other half.
Selecting a hybrid is much more complicated than just picking the highest yielding hybrid you have heard about in coffee shop talk.
Nanda is a consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc. He writes from Indianapolis.