It is that time of year for South Dakota farmers to place orders for corn seed. Nathan Mueller, SDSU Extension Agronomist says two questions many growers should ask are: 1) How many hours do I spend selecting corn hybrids? 2) Who and what influence my decision?
"Regardless of how you answered these questions, selecting hybrids each year is one of the most important routine decisions producers make that drives profitability," Mueller said. "In 2011, the average corn price received in South Dakota was $6.05 per bushel - only to be higher in 2012."
He adds that in both the 2011 and 2012 SDSU trials, the average difference between the lowest and highest yielding hybrid was 49 bu. per acre.
"These values highlight the potential maximum impact hybrid selection can have on profitability," he said. "Selecting a group of proven top-performing hybrids to plant on your farm will also help you minimize the chance that a particular environmental factor, disease, or insect may preferentially impact all of them. Your time and effort in making an informed decision on selecting hybrids will make good on its return."
To aid growers in this important buying decision, Mueller compiled a list of considerations:
- Availability and seed cost
- Yield potential, yield stability, and maturity
- Yield limiting factors (diseases, insects, etc.)
- Your management practices
- Available traits and technologies
- Company yield data
- Third-party hybrid performance trial results
"Your seed dealer or crop advisor should be able to help you gather most of this information including yield data from third-party hybrid performance trials to help identify top performing hybrids that match your soils, climate, pest problems, and management," he said. "If you are concerned that you will miss out on the earliest pay discounts by waiting for third-party trials results to be released, seed companies often will let you pay for a seed order without specifying the hybrid until later. Please check with your seed company on this policy."
SDSU corn hybrid performance trials on iGrow.org
South Dakota State University (SDSU) conducts corn hybrid performance trials each year. Results are available online at http://igrow.org/agronomy/corn/corn-variety-trial-results/.