Seed companies have big plans for the expansion of corn acres in Western Canada, but whether farmers plant more corn will depend on two key factors: maturity and yield.
Monsanto Canada announced just over a year ago that it’s spending more than $100 million over 10 years on developing varieties suitable for the Canadian prairies. The company’s breeders have specific targets in mind for both maturity and yield, says Monsanto’s Denise Hockaday in the video below.
“We’re focusing on trying to get to less than 70 day corn, even into 68 day corn,” she says. “It’s a process, but we’re getting there.”
Through its Dekalb seed business, Monsanto will be releasing its first corn variety with a relative maturity rating of 72 days in 2015.
“It’ll be the earliest product we have on the market. It can be grown in areas that have never grown corn before. Farmers will see that they have the opportunity to try corn on their farm,” says Hockaday.
From a farmer’s perspective, not only is maturity important, but yield must also be high enough to justify growing corn. Again, Monsanto has a specific target, notes Hockaday.
“110 bushels (per acre) seems to be the mark that makes it economically much more profitable than other crops. Of course that depends on commodity prices as well, but we know that the demand for corn is not going to go down,” she says.
Hockaday spoke with RealAg’s Shaun Haney at one of the stops on Monsanto’s Momentum Tour across Western Canada.
Related: What does a “day” mean, in corn?
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