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Corn Hybrid Selection, Field-by-Field

You’re Not Alone in Making the Decisions Most Critical to Maximum Corn Yields.

No two fields are identical. When producers are committed to managing every acre to reach its maximum yield capacity, correctly positioning corn hybrids is key to limiting risk and maximizing yields without increasing input costs.

The wide array of genetically diverse hybrid choices, and the fact average corn hybrid lifespan is about 2½ years, gives producers little time to test a hybrid on their own farm to be sure it’s the right fit. Without this “on farm” experience, choosing the right hybrid can be mind boggling.

Corn Stalks

That’s where the agronomic expertise of Southern States® is best put to work. We use performance data from Southern State’s annual test plot program along with crop data such as yield maps, field imagery, in-season tissue sampling and other information collected from producers’ fields. All of this data combines to give us a clearer picture of each product’s performance across a wide variety of conditions.

Field-By-Field Placement

With an understanding of each hybrid’s basic production traits and yield potential, we can match them to the unique needs and production capacity of individual fields. Each Southern States agronomist begins the recommendation process with a soil map and the latest soil test results. Knowledge of the soil’s water-holding capacity and base fertility levels across each field are used to set attainable goals.

Spreading Risk Through Genetic Diversity Plus New Technology

Across an operation, we know planting hybrids with similar traits, yet different genetic backgrounds is as a risk-management practice used to prepare for unpredictable environmental stresses on a crop. And, planting a range of maturities is a proven practice that improves the odds for successful pollination.

New precision farming technology and newly engineered planters are offering producers the ability to position two hybrids in one field. At Southern States we’re examining this new technology and learning about its application throughout our area. Soon, choosing and planting the right TWO hybrids for each field may be another valuable tool and risk-management strategy to consider for your operation.

Right Product, Right Population

With the hybrid selection process complete, our next step is to adjust the planting population to fit the hybrid and the field. Planting at the optimum population helps maximize yield without leaving potential in the field.

Each year, planting populations continue to increase. Throughout our area, typical seeding rates range from 26,000 plants per acre to 42,000 plants per acre. The higher populations are possible because of continually improving stress tolerance of today’s corn genetics.

Armed with information from the Southern State’s database, our agronomy professionals identify soils similar to those in your fields and then evaluate yield data of various hybrids over a range of populations. This allows us to confidently offer a recommended population for your fields. As a rule, corn hybrids with outstanding yield potential perform best in soils with a high production capacity so fields with very high yield potential should be the first candidates for higher populations.

Stress-tolerant “work horse” hybrids should be evaluated for soils with more marginal yield potential. In either case, correct nutrition will be needed to support yield goals as we can’t expect high-end yields with only “sufficient” nutrient levels.

Right on Your Farm?

Ultimately, what is the right product and the right population for each field within your operation? We’re here to help answer this question. As you work with your Southern States representative on hybrid seed selection and field placement for the 2016 crop, be sure to discuss the benefits of higher plant populations and ask about doing some on-farm comparisons. We’ll work with you to see what products and populations pay the most on your farm.

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