I was visiting with a corn breeder earlier this month and he made an interesting comment. “Farmers get fooled way too easily by yield trials.” I thought, “Wait a minute. Yield trials have value and tell at least part of the story.” He went on to say that far too many farm operations switch everything and chase the plot winners from last year only to be disappointed when they don’t live up to that kind of performance the next season.
The take home message is this: If you’re planting too much of 1 hybrid on your farm because it won last year’s plots, you’re taking a big risk. Just look at your own yield monitor from last year to show you this is true. How much yield variability did you see from one field to the next and also within each field? Chances are you didn’t find the perfect hybrid for every acre. Also, look at field trials from your area the last 3 years. I’ll bet the top three hybrids from 2017 weren’t the same as in 2018 or in 2019.
Planting multiple hybrids greatly increases your odds of finding the best hybrids. It also decreases your chances of having a disaster. Brian tells the story of the top-selling hybrid in our area that had a silk-balling problem a decade ago, and farmers got nearly zero yield. With weather so drastically different from year to year, it’s actually very common for varieties to look good one year and then completely fall flat the next. Don’t let that happen to you.
Since no one can predict exactly how many GDU’s your crop will accumulate and when the big stressors will occur (things such as heat during pollination, drought, etc.) it pays to spread your risk here, as well. In many cases, I’d recommend spreading maturities by 5 to 10 days. This also helps at harvest as not all the crop will be ready at the exact same time. On our farm, we usually spread corn maturities by 15 days. Some years are cool. Some are hot. With this wide range of maturities, we always have some dry corn that can be harvested early, even in a year like 2019.
The last few years, we’ve received many pictures from Hefty Brand Corn growers showing Hefty hybrids emerging well ahead of all competitors. In fact, last year we got thousands of pictures. Not a single one had a competitive hybrid emerging before the Hefty Corn. This huge emergence advantage is due to our seed treatment. If you’re planting Hefty Brand Corn this year on your farm, we strongly encourage you to be in your fields within 2 to 5 days of crop emergence. Please take pictures of Hefty Corn vs. any competitor and send them to us. Many people are wondering how we are winning so many yield trials, and how our corn is showing up so much better in side by sides. It’s no big secret. Yes, we have some of the best genetics in the industry, but no other seed company has the seed treatment package we do. Faster emergence often leads to more yield and drier corn at harvest. Plant Hefty Brand Corn this year and take a look at the difference as the corn emerges.
Getting a great corn yield in the fall means getting the crop off to a great start. Hefty Brand Corn, with the help of Hefty Complete seed treatment, shows consistently faster emergency in side-by-side comparisons across the broad geographies.