How closely did you look at the seed tags on your corn hybrid bags or Pro Boxes this spring? Were there multiple tags attached? What do all those tags mean?
Why it might vary some from company to company, generally tags will carry information on whether the hybrid is Liberty Link, meaning its tolerant to glufosinate herbicide, and whether it's glyphosate-tolerant, which means it's tolerant to Roundup or generic glyphosate herbicides. The tags may also list which GMO traits it contains, if any, regarding insect resistance.
Since some companies use a separate tag for each trait and some don't, you need to read carefully. Pete Illingworth, planter operator at Throckmorton Purdue University Ag Center near Romney, handles lots of bags of different hybrids from different companies during the season.
Illingworth keeps a tag from each hybrid and enters te information in his monitor that records information on the field. He does that even if it's a field of commercial corn, not a test plot.
One reason he does it is to make sure he knows which fields can be sprayed with Roundup, which can be sprayed with Liberty, and which with both or neither, he says. He also does most of the spraying for the farm.
"I like to use Liberty in certain situations on corn, and I need to know for sure which hybrids have the Liberty Link trait," Illingworth says.
Some hybrids have a separate tag declaring if the hybrid is Liberty Link tolerant. Some companies include letters in their naming system for hybrids that identify which traits the hybrid has. However, there is no standard system between companies, so unless you only buy from one company and learn their system, that may not be of much value when you're trying to figure out what was planted where.
It's not something you want to guess on, whether it's a test plot or commercial corn, Illingworth concludes.
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