Corn School: Consider soil productivity when selecting hybrids

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Knowing your yield potential is a key factor to consider when selecting corn hybrids for specific farms and fields.

Are you planting into highly productive soils with high nutrient holding capacity or a field with heavy clay that has lower yield potential? That’s a big consideration when growers are selecting hybrids for spring planting, says Pride Seeds market development agronomist Matt Chapple.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, Chapple offers insight on questions growers should be asking their seed retailer when making hybrid selections for 2020. To kick things off, he explains the difference between a fixed and a flex hybrid. Fixed hybrids tend to produce carbon copy ears at higher populations (34,000 – 36,000) and maximize yield potential and return on seed investment in productive, high management fields.  Flex hybrids tend to be the opposite. These hybrids have the potential to “flex out” at lower populations (30,000 – 32,000) and add extra rows and cob length when experiencing good growing conditions in less productive soils.

Chapple notes that fixed and flex hybrids can typically be identified in seed guides by looking at the recommended population rate for each hybrid. He says planting a fixed hybrid in the right environment can deliver up to an extra 20 bushels. The same is true for flex hybrids when they are planted at lower populations in less productive environments.

To help target these hybrids, Chapple says it’s important to know the field history and crop potential. Growers can then have a discussion with their seed dealer to identify fixed hybrids for fields they want to push and select flex hybrids for fields that are a better fit for lower populations.

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