Seed sales for 2011 begins again while this year's crop is still growing! Becks hybrids, for example, report that they book a majority of their annual sales at their field shows. Their Becknology Days on August 26, 27 and 28 generally kick off their selling season for that particular cay.
You're still going to have questions, since you don't have this year's crop in the bin yet. Did the hybrids you planted this year perform? Can you tell yet? Overall performance may be hard to judge, but you should have picked up various traits by now, such as resistance to various diseases.
Dave Nanda, crops consultant, Indianapolis, recommends that every farmer have some sort of a test plot on their own farm to see what fits their soils best. But he also says that if you wait until harvest to check it, you're losing out on big opportunities to judge various aspects of plant growth, including emergence in early spring and disease resistance, especially to foliar diseases in corn.
In a test plot on your farm, you can check and compare hybrid traits at various stages. Which hybrids hold ears higher than others? How is ear height overall? Which hybrids have the strongest roots? Did its' package of disease tolerance or resistance provide adequate protection"
To make your records compl3te, you need a rating system, Nanda says. You can use a 1 to 9 or 1 to 10 one scale. Make sure you know whether 1 is best and 10 worst, or 10 is best and 1 is worst.
Here are some things you may want to rate during the season.
- Management- how does it fit on your farm? Can you expect it to mature on time? Does it have traits?
- Plant emergence- it's too late for this year, but keep in mind for next year. There are differences in early seedling vigor. You may want to place a priority on this trait if you no-till, or plant in cool, wet soils.
- Growth stages come next. Look for ratings on root strength, stalk strength and greensnap-. Work with your seedsman to make sure you understand the rations in each case
- Harvest information? Will you need to plan a schedule to harvest, because some hybrids will dry down quicker in the fall than others. Which ones will be more susceptible to stalk rots and other corn pathogens?