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Extension > Minnesota Crop News > October 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hybrid Stability

Dale R. Hicks, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics

Corn seed salesmen will be calling on growers to book the hybrids that they will grow next year. One of the hybrid's traits that they may talk about is "stability." I've heard that term for many years and often wondered what it meant; I haven't seen it defined in company literature. And the term "racehorse" is also often used in the same discussion of stability. I've often asked what is meant by these terms and get different replies, but the description usually is "it's a hybrid that does well on your best land." Right or wrong, this implied to me that those hybrids described as racehorses might not then do as well as others on lower yielding fields. Then, what hybrids should one chose to grow on the lower yielding fields? Do "racehorse hybrids" exist? These questions haunted me for some time until I looked into the matter further. This paper describes my findings and conclusions.
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