Seed companies relate their top hybrids for the 2000 corn crop.

Wondering what to buy for hybrids this spring? We went to the top eight seed corn companies in the U.S. (based on our reader surveys) and asked for each of their top five hybrids for 2000. Then we compiled the following descriptions of each company's hybrids. Maybe you'll find something new, or maybe this will confirm your choice.

A word of caution: Most companies expect to sell out of their top hybrids. Order soon if you want to lock in a choice. * Pioneer Hi-Bred International The 2000 lineup for Pioneer Hi-Bred includes these top five leaders in company sales volume, according to Kyle Whitaker, product and technology communications manager.

36R10 101-day maturity. 1998 introduction. A top-yielding hybrid, it produced a 9 bu./acre yield advantage in 3,433 side-by-side yield comparisons with competitors in same maturity, Whitaker reports. Superior late-season plant health, very good stalks and above-average mid-season brittle stalk resistance. New version in 2000: 36R11 with YieldGard.

35P12 104-day maturity. 1999 introduction. Recom-mended for highly productive fields, it produced a 7.9 bu./acre advantage in 3,605 comparisons. Very good early growth and staygreen. New version in 2000: 35P17 with LibertyLink gene.

34B23 108-day maturity. 1999 introduction. The hybrid produced 12.9 bu./acre more in 1,957 field comparisons. Recommended for reduced and no-till acres with its moderate gray leaf spot resistance. New versions in 2000: 34B25, high-oil TC Blend product; 34B28 with Clearfield trait; and 34B29 with LibertyLink gene.

33A14 113-day maturity. 1997 introduction. YieldGard. In 11,491 comparisons, the hybrid earned a 7.7 bu./acre advantage over competitors. Excellent staygreen and very good root lodging resistance.

33P67 114-day maturity. 1999 introduction. YieldGard. It yielded 16.4 bu./acre more than competitors in 1,798 comparisons. Recommended for moderate- to high-yield environments. Moderate gray leaf spot resistance, very good southern leaf blight resistance. New versions in 2000: 33P69 with LibertyLink gene, 33P71 with Clearfield trait.

For more information, contact Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc., Dept. FIN, 7100 N.W. 62nd Ave., Johnston, IA 50131, 800/247-6803, ext. 6941.

* Dekalb Genetics Three new products and two recent hybrids make up the key hybrids in Dekalb's lineup, according to Joe Walsh, product manager. Dekalb starts a new numbering system for hybrids this year to accommodate new releases. Adding 50 to the first two numbers gives the relative maturity of the hybrid.

DKC 47-72 97-day maturity. 2000 introduction. YieldGard. It adapts to a wide range of soil types and tillage practices. Popular for corn following corn. Great drydown, stalk strength. Manage like DK477.

DKC 49-92 99-day maturity. 2000 introduction. YieldGard version of DK493, which is Dekalb's leadingvolume product. Drought tolerant. Good performance with all populations.

DKC 57-72 107-day maturity. 2000 introduction. YieldGard. Considered one of the highest-rated root products for Dekalb, according to Walsh. Excellent early season vigor, stalks. Manage like DK579.

DK 585 108-day maturity. 1998 introduction. Can be used in a wide range of conservation practices and all populations. "It yields right up there with full-season hybrids that are later maturity," Walsh adds. Good drydown, plant health.

DK 611 110-day maturity. 1999 introduction. A tolerance to gray leaf spot makes this a good choice for corn-on-corn. Yields tops in plots, Walsh says. Great drydown, good stalks and roots.

For more information, contact Dekalb Genetics, Dept. FIN, 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd., CS7K, St. Louis, MO 63167.

* Novartis Seeds Novartis offers some of its elite hybrids in both conventional and Bt lines, according to Marc Hennen, corn marketing manager.

N3030BT 95-day maturity. 1999 introduction. YieldGard. Excellent emergence and seedling vigor. High yielding for maturity zone. Drought tolerant, superior stalk strength. Responds well in heavy- or medium-texture soils.

N42-B7 100-day maturity. 2000 introduction. YieldGard, Clearfield. A versatile hybrid, it works well in various soil types and is exceptionally drought tolerant. Good late-season intactness and fast drydown.

N59-Q9 109-day maturity. 1997 introduction. A proven performer, this hybrid provides a consistent yield over various growing conditions, Hennen reports. Exhibits good stress tolerance and drydown.

N65-A1 111-day maturity. 2000 introduction. YieldGard. Responds to high fertility and management conditions with high yields in both grain and high-moisture corn. Good drought tolerance and stalks. Excellent ear flexibility.

N58-D1 108-day maturity. 2000 introduction. YieldGard. An excellent hybrid for continuous corn and conventional tillage, or reduced tillage after soybeans, Hennen says. Fast drydown and late-season intactness.

N70-D5 114-day maturity. 2000 introduction. Hennen suggests this hybrid as an option for non-Bt refuge acres with its strong performance, heavy test weight and high-quality grain. Superior drought tolerance, good staygreen, fast drydown, strong stalks.

For more information, contact Novartis Seeds Inc., Dept. FIN, Field Crops, NAFTA, Box 959, Minneapolis, MN 55440.

* Garst Seed Company and AgriPro Seeds Garst and AgriPro are expecting high demand for top hybrids. Demand may override supply on most of them, according to Gene Kassmeyer, corn product manager.

8830 95-day maturity. 1998 introduction. The hybrid yielded 2.5 bu./acre better in 730 head-to-head comparisons with competitors with similar maturity products. Excellent emergence and early vigor.

AP 9355BT 102-day maturity. 1999 introduction. YieldGard. The hybrid yielded 8.1 bu./acre more compared with competitors in 285 field tests. Outstanding plant health, moderate ear flex.

8590 106-day maturity. 1999 limited introduction. From 826 comparisons, it yielded 3.1 bu./acre better than competitors. Medium-tall hybrid, very fast drydown, good stress tolerance. New 2000 version: 8590IT with Clearfield.

AP 9565 111-day maturity. 1997 introduction. It outperformed competitors by 5.8 bu./acre in 625 comparisons with competitors in 1999. Best for highly productive soils.

8464 111-day maturity. 1998 introduction. "We sell this about anywhere in this maturity," Kassmeyer says. "It is a solid performer with 8.1 bu./acre better than competitors in 2,383 comparisons." Moderate ear flex, good resistance to gray leaf spot.

For more information, contact Garst Seed Company, Dept. FIN, 2369 330th St., Slater, IA 50244, 888/464-2778. Contact AgriPro Seed Company, Dept. FIN, Box 2962, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201, 877/247-4776.

* Asgrow Two new hybrids and three recent ones rank in Asgrow's lineup of top hybrids, according to Trent Leopold, Asgrow brand manager.

RX 485RR/YG 101-day maturity. 2000 introduction. YieldGard. Roundup Ready. The key strength with this hybrid is the stacked traits in a top-producing hybrid. Excellent emergence and early growth. Ideal for conservation tillage applications.

RX489RR 101-day maturity. 2000 introduction. Roundup Ready. Product has excellent yield with vigor in roots, making it fit well with conservation tillage practices. Good drought tolerance and greensnap tolerance. Manage like RX488.

RX601/YG 105-day maturity. YieldGard. Good adaptation across the Corn Belt and a nice fit for conservation tillage. Strong emergence, stalks and roots. Good stress tolerance.

RX730/YG 111-day maturity. YieldGard. Another high-yielding hybrid with wide use across the Corn Belt in many soil types. Good stalks.

RX738 111-day maturity. 1999 introduction. This hybrid has a great test weight and grain quality. Good yield performer across many environments.

For more information, contact Asgrow, Dept. FIN, 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd., CS7K, St. Louis, MO 63167, 888/827-4769.

* Cargill Cargill offers a full line of hybrids in all maturities, starting from 80 days to 116 days, according to Mark Winkle, trait product manager. Here is a look at the company's top hybrids.

1877 80- to 82-day maturity. 1996 introduction. It provides excellent yield performance across different environmental conditions. Flowers early for maturity zone. High test weight.

3677 98- to 100-day maturity. 1995 introduction. One of Cargill's highest-selling hybrids, it handles many growing conditions from high-yield environments to stress situations. Excellent stalk strength and late-season plant health. New Clearfield, LibertyLink and YieldGard Bt versions available.

4111 99- to 101-day maturity. 1997 introduction. It combines top-end yields with an excellent agronomic package, Winkle reports. Strong early vigor and late-season plant and health attributes. YieldGard and LibertyLink trait options available.

6431 IMI 108- to 110-day maturity. 1998 introduction. Clearfield. Since its introduction, it has become a very high-yielding and popular hybrid for Cargill. Flowers early for its maturity with good drydown. YieldGard and LibertyLink versions available.

6888 109- to 111-day maturity. 1996 introduction. Cargill's top-selling hybrid, it is a white cob, yellow grain that provides excellent grain quality. Excellent roots, stalks and late-season plant health. Superb greensnap tolerance. Available in a YieldGard Bt version.

For more information, contact Cargill, Dept. FIN, 15407 McGinty Rd. W., Wayzata, MN 55391, 800/634-8941.

* Golden Harvest A lineup of proven performers was picked for Golden Harvest Seeds' selection of top hybrids, according to Jim Shearl, executive vice president.

H-8250 105-day maturity. 1999 introduction. Its late-flowering characteristics allow this hybrid to move south and compete with full-season hybrids for yield. Excellent drydown combined with high test weight.

H-2495 109-day maturity. A proven hybrid with outstanding performance last year, it performs consistently on many soil types. Above-average natural tolerance to European corn borer. Excellent cold tolerance and emergence; very good early-season vigor.

H-9229 112-day maturity. 1999 introduction. Calling it an exciting, high-yielding hybrid, Shearl says the hybrid is widely adapted. Shows a good natural tolerance to European corn borer and above-average test weight.

H-2547 112-day maturity. This hybrid combines extremely high yield potential with a solid agronomic package. Excellent late-season plant health. Fits all production practices.

H-9230Bt 113-day maturity. 1999 introduction. YieldGard. Good drought tolerance provides consistent performance across a range of environments and production practices. Good standability, ear retention and late-season plant health.

For more information, contact Golden Harvest, Dept. FIN, 220 N. Eldorado Rd., Suite E, Bloomington, IL 61704, 800/610-7333.

* Mycogen Several of Mycogen's top hybrids feature NatureGard, its Bt event for resistance to European corn borer, according to Tim Glenn, corn product manager.

2424 95-day maturity. 1999 introduction. NatureGard. It will be Mycogen's largest-selling hybrid in this maturity. Outstanding consistency across environments with high test weights. Outperformed comparable hybrids in its maturity by 4.3 bu/acre. Good early vigor. Good in minimum tillage.

2525 100-day maturity. 1999 introduction. NatureGard. Early flowering, it shows excellent emergence vigor and is very good in reduced or no-till situations. Tremendous top-end yields with a 5.6 bu./acre advantage in company trials with competitors. Very good drought stress tolerance.

2652 106-day maturity. 1999 introduction. A very popular hybrid, it is sold widely across the Corn Belt and south of I-80. Produced a yield advantage of 4 bu./acre in field tests at 270 locations against comparable hybrids. Good ear flexibility; does well on dryland and irrigated cropland.

2657 106-day maturity. 1999 introduction. NatureGard. It has demonstrated high yields and excellent yield stability across varying soil types and management practices. At 231 locations, it outperformed comparable hybrids by 5.2 bu./acre.

2799 IMI 114-day maturity. 1999 introduction. Clearfield. Mycogen's top-selling hybrid, it is a Bt conversion of the popular hybrid 7250. Outstanding yield stability across environments. Will fit any management situation. In 135 locations, outperformed comparable hybrids by 3.6 bu./acres.

For more information, contact Mycogen Seeds, Dept. FIN, 1340 Corporate Center Curve, Eagan, MN 55121, 800/380-7282.