Several years ago our agronomy team identified four qualities that we felt set our corn lineup apart from the competition: drought and Goss’s Wilt tolerance, more harvestable yield and genetic diversity. The 2017 growing season brought significant challenges to some areas, while customers in other areas had record yields.
We did not let this season go to waste for evaluating new products and making improvements for future years. We revisited these four points of differentiation to assess how our lineup performed.
Dry conditions plagued the northern plains early in the 2017 growing season, but timely rains alleviated the drought somewhat as the season progressed. Southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas started the season with good moisture with drought impacting yields during pollination and grain fill. With different droughts in different areas of the western corn belt, we had a good chance to evaluate drought performance across much of our lineup. Below is a high level summary of how our hybrids ranked in drought environments.
A high-level look at the relative performance of our products specifically in drought environments below 150 bushels per acre from 2015-17.
It's noted that corn products rated 8 or 9 for drought continue to rise to the top, with still some good product performance with 7’s. While I think that farmers with drought-prone fields should plant the majority of their acres to 8’s and 9’s, planting a product rated a 7 for drought on some acres can open up some other good product options and increase genetic diversity on the farm.
Goss’s Wilt Tolerance
We haven’t seen a widespread outbreak of Goss’s Wilt since 2011. A lack of natural Goss’s Wilt pressure is good for farmers but makes it more challenging for seed companies to screen new hybrids for Goss’s Wilt tolerance. Fortunately our products are tested in special trials that are inoculated with Goss’s Wilt. From what I’ve seen from these trials, we have strong overall Goss’s Wilt tolerance in our newer products. Hoegemeyer 8414 AM stands out with a 7 score, and many of our new products carry a 6 rating, which makes them suited for Goss’s Wilt-prone fields.
More Harvestable Yield
More harvestable yield means that our products need to be able to stand and hold onto their ears until harvested. Multiple late October wind events impacted growers in Nebraska and surrounding areas in 2017. For more information on the factors that may have caused late season harvest issues, read UNL’s Cropwatch update.
Products from all seed companies were impacted by the winds but not all hybrids were affected the same. In our lineup, we had products that stood quite well against the wind, but some of the higher yielding racehorse products seemed to be the most prone to lodging and ear drop. We are taking all of this into account as we make product recommendations for 2018. Going forward, we know that growers will not be satisfied if we abandon high-yielding products for the sake of bullet-proof agronomics. Selecting products will remain a balance between top-end yield potential and agronomics, but we are committed to providing more products that strike the right balance.
2017 was an example of how genetic diversity mitigated risk from unpredictable weather events. When a weather event “picks on” one specific style of hybrid, a farmer can usually handle some problems on a percentage of acres, but not the entire farm. Several of our race horse products that were introduced in the 2014-2015 time period share a common parent, and these were among the hardest hit in our lineup by the 2017 winds.
We have several new products for 2018 that are bringing racehorse type yields with different parental backgrounds. 2018, 2019 and 2020 will usher in a lot of new genetic options across our entire lineup. Also, with full regulatory approval of Qrome™ brand products expected soon, genetic diversity will get a boost in our triple stack lineup.
The Midwest has experienced some stretches of below-normal temperatures, with cold, rainy conditions this spring. Research shows that the opportune time to plant corn is somewhere between the last two weeks of April and the first few days of May. However, Mother Nature isn’t necessarily on that same schedule. Fields that have been recently planted or those that will be planted in the next couple days may be subject to seedling injury.
SIGNS OF INJURY
Corn that has been recently planted in the Midwest has experienced less-than-ideal overall conditions, especially when it comes to temperature. In many locations, the weather pattern of cold rain and low temperatures has potential to promote a problem for young seedlings called “Imbibitional Chilling Injury.” Some basic visual symptoms may be corkscrewing of the young germinating plant or leafing out below ground level. Consider digging up a few seedlings and checking them for signs of corkscrewing, leafing out underground or damping off.
WHY WOULD SEEDLINGS REACT LIKE THIS?
A possible issue that cause less than optimum stands and poor emergence is chilling injury to the mesocotyl or coleoptile plant tissue caused by sub-lethal cold temperatures (less than 50 degrees) during the period very soon after planting when seeds begin to imbibe water. The seed will not begin to germinate until the soil temp approaches 50 degrees, however, the seed will allow water to enter regardless of temperature. This chilling injury basically equates to cells rupturing which results in the corkscrewing of the mesocotyl. This delays the emergence of the coleoptile prior to the usual emergence of leaves from the coleoptile.
In addition to slowing the germination process, cold temperatures, snow and cold rains may cause irreparable harm to the delicate structures of an emerging corn seedling. When dry corn seed absorbs cold water, Imbibitional Chilling Injury is not uncommon. Such injury in corn seeds ruptures cell membranes and results in aborted radicles, proliferation of seminal roots, delayed seedling growth and potential for diseases pathogens to attack the young seedling. When temperatures remain at or below 50 degrees Fahrenheit after planting or fall below 50 degrees within 24-48 after planting, damage to germinating seed can be particularly severe as they imbibe water. This should be considered as there is risk associated with the temperature and moisture roller coaster we have experienced so far this planting season.
If you have any questions, contact your local Hoegemeyer agronomist or District Sales Manager.
Increase the performance and profitability potential for your fields with these Hoegemeyer planting population recommendations. Our recommendations are powered by years of local testing data.
The testing – multiple testing variables for a better understanding of product performance
Hoegemeyer continues our extensive work on corn population studies. We test our current line-up along with new experimental hybrids coming down the pipeline. At each location, we plant four rows, 20 ft plots at five populations (18k, 26K, 34K, 42K, 50K) and we replicate this process three times. We will take stand counts and harvest the middle two rows come harvest time. This provides us information to help understand how these hybrids perform at different yield environments.
Each location will then be categorized into one of four different Yield Environments:
Very High equals >240 Bu/A
High equals 180-240 Bu/A
Medium equals 120-180 Bu/A
Low equals <120 Bu/A
The results – ideal plant population recommendations for your unique acres
As a result, we create these population charts for each hybrid in our line-up to help educate farmers about the ideal population for their yield environment. Use these recommendations and work with your local Hoegemeyer dealer to maximize the potential of your seed.
The team – in-house agronomy research to provide local solutions
At Hoegemeyer, we are proud of the in-house agronomy research that we provide to farmers to help educate their farming decisions. It’s just one more step in offering top-quality products coupled with expert advice that provide you that Western Corn Belt Performance you deserve on your acres.
A great harvest starts in the SPRING when planting the right seed on your unique acres. Growers often reference corn suitability ratings to provide valuable insight to a hybrid’s strengths and weaknesses, and how that translates into productivity and profitability for their acres.
Know your soil profile
When it comes down to seed selection, growers should take into account the soil profile in each field. High soil pH is a common challenge in the Western Corn Belt. Decreasing soil pH through management practices is very difficult and typically not economical, so what should a producer do? “Plant a hybrid with good tolerance to high soil pH, a suitability score of 5 or higher,” states Craig Langemeier, Hoegemeyer sales agronomist.
The effects of high pH soils
Hoegemeyer is committed to providing growers products that can tolerate these stressful pH conditions. High pH soils cause a symptom known as Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC). Several nutrients become harder for the plant to extract from the soil at a pH above 7.5 including phosphorus, zinc, iron and manganese. This may cause stunting, yellowing, interveinal chlorosis and even plant death in some hybrids.
Commitment to research
Hoegemeyer conducts extensive research on all products before they are brought to market. Research efforts have recently ramped up to provide high-performing pH tolerant products growers demand. During the 2016 growing season, replicated trials were conducted with over 70 entries at two high pH environment locations. This research aids in providing the right seed to perform in your soil type.
Selecting the right seed
Do you have high soil pH? Do you have the right seed to perform these acres? Different genetics are going to perform differently on each soil type, be confident you’re selecting the right seed for your farms – talk to your local Hoegemeyer dealer for placement recommendations. Check out the Hoegemeyer brand hybrids that are recommended for high soil pH here.
Every year, when the calendar gets close to June, the question of whether to back off on relative maturity or not arises at least somewhere in the Hoegemeyer footprint. Some areas this spring have been continually hit with significant rain events that have not allowed corn planting to progress. No matter what date you planted your corn, it still takes about 125 growing degree units (GDU’s) for corn to emerge. In addition, research has shown that full season corn hybrids can also adapt to GDU’s needed for growth and maturity when planted later. For example, a corn hybrid will adjust to late planting by reducing the GDU’s necessary to reach black layer by about 6 units per day. An example would be a hybrid planted on May 20th that would require about 150 fewer GDU’s than the same hybrid planted on April 25th. Although the time required for a late planted hybrid to go from silk to black layer is increased, the time period from planting to flowering (tassel) is actually significantly reduced. Although later corn planting dates are not beneficial overall in terms of yield response, later planting dates will help accelerate emergence out of the ground and the plant will benefit from more measurable GDU’s per day after emergence compared to significantly earlier dates.
There is a point when backing up in maturity does make sense, especially as one moves north. In general, the best chance to approach optimum yield vs. planting date is still achieved by sticking with the normal adapted corn maturity for that area until the last week of May. After that, reducing maturity by about 5 days is justified as we approach June 1st. As we enter the 2nd week of June, reducing maturity by another 5 days is justified. Beyond the 2nd week of June, planting corn is usually not advised. Note that these estimates vary some depending on the individual situation and geography. If we were able to predict a cooler than normal grain filling period (August and early September), then one might error on the side of caution and plant an earlier hybrid the closer we get to June.
Questions regarding corn replant? Several factors come into play but as the calendar moves into the 1st week of June, more times than not, the best choice is to leave your remaining stand. Table 2 from Iowa State University gives estimated yield potential for corn at different final plant populations and planting dates.
Heavy, persistent rains have also delayed soybean planting for several areas of the Hoegemeyer footprint. Take a look at this article from UNL extension in regards to delayed soybean planting decisions and practices. http://cropwatch.unl.edu/delayed-planting-in-soybeans This article uses June 15 as a potential date to consider a 1/2 maturity group reduction (example would be reducing from a 3.5 RM to a 3.0 RM). However, we feel June 20 is a more relevant date for locations south of Interstate 80. As one moves north of Highway 20 in Nebraska and Iowa, June 1st can be used as a potential date for a ½ maturity group reduction (example would be reducing from a 2.5 RM to a 2.0 RM). Past situations would show that fuller season soybeans give the best chance for yield, especially as we move south, for several reasons:
1. Late planted full-season soybeans south of I-80 are not at the same risk of a fall freeze as those planted further north.
2. For the most part, short season soybeans do not move south well. Soybeans are triggered to go into reproductive mode based off daylight. They are more sensitive to photoperiod than corn. There is typically more heat as you move south, but also longer nights. Soybeans that are very early in maturity, that are planted late into a southern zone will potentially be very short and will not produce much for pods or canopy.
3. Fuller season soybeans still have the best potential to capitalize on late season rains come September and early October.
If you have specific questions about your farm, please don’t hesitate to contact someone on our Agronomy team. We are here to ensure the long-term success on your farm!