What is the first question you ask your seed dealer when considering a specific corn hybrid or soybean variety? Is it something like “How did it yield?” followed by “Do you have some plot data?”
If so, you’re in good company. That’s how many discussions about seed selection get started, often resulting in purchase and placement decisions being made solely on the response to those questions.
While there is valid seed selection information that might be gained from those questions, what farmers really need is a discussion that discloses information pertaining more specifically to their own operation. After all, aren’t these questions about what happened last year, on someone else’s ground, with someone else’s fertility program, with someone else’s planter, with someone else’s practices?
My solution? Let’s make a pledge to change the conversation and get out of the generic yield and plot data only discussion! We need to drill down into the topics that will disclose information about what you need for your farm. And, demand that your seed dealer do the same. The result will be better seed placement to maximize yields.
Here are some examples of timely and relevant questions:
1) Can you tell me about Hybrid X and its resistance to foliar and stalk disease? If you’re like a lot of corn growers, Goss’s Wilt and Anthracnose leaf blight and stalk have become more prevalent in recent years. These are both disastrous post-pollination yield robbers, but some hybrids are far more resistant than others. Discussing this specific topic can be tremendously important to selecting the correct hybrid.
2) How does Variety X respond to an increase or decrease in planted population and how might a 94% germ rate affect my stand? Just when you think you know the right population for a specific field, it might be time to question your standard as soybean varieties continue to improve in yield potential. It’s also a helpful question due to the recent prevalence of white mold. If you saw those ugly black sclerotia among your soybeans in the hopper this fall, it is a must-have discussion.
3) Can you describe the emergence and vigor ratings of Hybrid X? This seems to be topic that’s discussed only after a farmer finds an issue. Usually, the problem lies in uncooperative weather or seed that has been “mudded in”, but not always. Definitive and potentially yield-affecting differences exist among different hybrids. With the volatility we experience in the ND, SD and MN planting season, it is a great question to ask.
4) What can I expect when I move from a Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean program to a LibertyLink or RR2 Xtend program? Not only is this discussion timely, but in the case of Xtend and the use of dicamba, it’s still changing in terms of application regulations. It is also important to discuss because of its potential for impact, not only on your fields but on your neighbors’ fields, as well.
While this list is hardly exhaustive, hopefully it’s enough to get you thinking about what you really need to know to put the best seed on the right ground next spring!