This year’s corn crop is barely in the hopper, and it’s already time to make decisions about what to plant next spring as seed companies offer early booking discounts for next year’s acres.
Do you decide to go with tried-and-true, or the newest star variety that looked really good in your neighbour’s plots this year? How many acres of each?
In this Corn School episode, Dieter Schwarz, PRIDE Seeds’ market development agronomist in Western Canada, focuses on evaluating varieties this fall for planting next spring.
“One thing to keep in mind is that it can be a one year deal,” he says. “My recommendation to growers is to look at that new hybrid and put 10 or 15, maybe 20 percent into that new full season hybrid that gives excellent bushels. However, put 60 percent of your acres into your workhorse hybrid that get’s it done year after year.”
He recommends planting the remaining 20 percent or so acres to an earlier-maturing hybrid to reduce weather risk and produce good bushel weights.
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Yield, moisture and bushel weight are the primary measurements for ranking varieties, but Schwarz notes there other factors worth considering when deciding which ones to grow.
Target plant populations in Manitoba have been climbing — should a variety have been planted at 32 thousand or 34 thousand plants/acre versus 30 thousand?
“This time of year is a good time to do a quick plant stand count, see how well your plan to plant 30 or 32 thousand worked out,” he explains.
“While you’re doing that you can also evaluate the standability of your hybrid, see if there’s any lodging, root damage, tassle breakage, really evaluate the health of your hybrid,” continues Schwarz. “Ultimately, if you can’t harvest it, all the yield in the world is not worth anything to you.”
Related: Corn School: How & Why to Set up Variety Comparisons On-Farm
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