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Selecting the right seedPosted Monday, November 14, 2011, at 2:09 PM
It is that time of year when producers start making their selections for next year's corn hybrids and soybean varieties. With all of the corn hybrid and soybean technologies available to growers, an increased number of choices has produced a growing challenge in identifying which traits will provide maximum performance and yield in a grower's specific field. The hybrid or variety with the best combination that provides a balance in maturity levels, genetics, and traits should manage risk while ensuring performance against unforeseen challenges such as insect and disease pressure and weather.
You first need to determine the difference between genetics and traits. A phrase to remember is that: Genetics make yield: but traits protect yield. The industry has focused a lot on trait diversity, but genetics provide the performance advantage. A grower needs to identify the traits necessary for their growing conditions such as above and/or below ground insects and weed control options and then find the strongest genetic package that possess those traits.
There are multiple sources of data available to identify product performance and trends. Since no two years are alike, the more data you can evaluate, the better choice you should be able to make. Evaluation of three to five years performance would be ideal. However with today's ever changing product lineup, it may be difficult to have that many years of data to use. Use data from other locations and other states to evaluate material. If possible chose data from locations similar to your own location. It is essential to make seed selections based on trends in product performance to get the right seed in the right place.
Precisi0on ag tools also provide a new source of information on soil type, product performance and field conditions that can be used in making field decisions. Data collected form precision ag instruments can be used to provide recommendations what seed to place at what population, with more precise guidance on fertilizer and nutrient management as well.
Refuge in a bag (RIB) is a new product that will simplify compliance with refuge recommendations. The RIB concept involves mixing the refuge seed with both the corn borer and rootworm insect protected corn seed, so growers have everything they need to be refuge compliant in just one bag. If you are going to use RIB products, make sure that yield comes first in selecting your hybrids. The bottom line on hybrid or variety selection is that you need to base your selection on what is right for your operation.
Results from University of Missouri corn and soybean test for 2011 are available at: http://agebb.missouri.edu/cropperf/
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As our local University of Missouri Agronomy Extension Specialist, Crook has been writing a column for the print edition Agriculture page for the past three years and we will now be sharing it on our web version. Crook has a bachelor and masters degree in agronomy from University of Missouri and received his doctorate in Agronomy from Kansas State University. He was in soybean variety development research for 22 years for various seed companies and has been Saline County's agronomy specialist for 10 years.