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Difference in maturity of hybrids apparent as corn silks pollinate, dry

Difference in maturity of hybrids apparent as corn silks pollinate, dry
Crop Watch 2015: Theory for the corn field was spreading pollination period with two hybrids of different maturities.

The farmer who makes decisions for and plants the Crop Watch 2015 field worked with seedsmen and did his homework.

Crop Watch 8/10: Time to count ears and kernels and calculate yield

He routinely plants two hybrids side-by-side, 12 rows of one hybrid on one side of the 24-row planter, and 12 rows of another hybrid in the other 12 rows. It allows him to check yields of one hybrid against another across a large area. But it also allows him to spread the pollination window.

Crop Watch 2015: Theory for the corn field was spreading pollination period with two hybrids of different maturities.

That's if he picks the right hybrids. Dave Nanda, consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc. says that since companies don't use a standard system for rating hybrid maturity, if you're using hybrids from different companies, investigate to make sure that maturities are actually different. Don't rely on either company's rating system that might indicate there is a difference in maturity to conclude for sure that they are in fact different.

The other issue is that even if two hybrids are truly different in maturity, say by two to three days, that doesn't mean their flowering dates are two to three dates apart. One may flower earlier than the other, or vice-versa, he observes.

What you need to know, Nanda says, is if the two hybrids will flower and silk at two different times or not. You want the times to overlap, but you want one to start a couple days or more before the other, and end a couple days after, or else you aren't achieving your goal of widening the pollination window by going with two hybrids instead of one.

Pollination difference: Note browner silks on the ear on the right. That hybrid pollinated and silked two to three days before the hybrid producing the ear on the left.

In this case in the Crop Watch 2015 field one hybrid did in fact tassel and produce silks about two to three days before the other hybrid did. When Nanda last visited the field, silks were noticeably drying up more on the hybrid that flowered first compared to the hybrid that flowered second. That indicates that pollination was further toward completion on the first hybrid.

"The farmer achieved the effect he was after in this case," Nanda says.

You can win free seed from Seed Consultants, Inc. if you farm in Indiana, Ohio or Michigan by entering the Crop Watch 2015 contest.

Crop Watch 8/7: Check pollination to see how successful it was this year

Send your estimate of the final dry yield of the Crop Watch 2015 field to the nearest tenth of a bushel to tbechman@farmprogress.com before midnight, Sept. 15. See full rules in the August or September issue, or in the crop watch item on the Web which appeared earlier this week.

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