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Monday, November 21, 2016

Corn grain trial results and criteria to advance hybrid selection

by Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist

Hybrid selection is one of the most important agronomic decisions for corn production. Results from the 2016 University of Minnesota corn grain performance trials are available at:

Hybrids that consistently perform well over multiple locations or years in a region are desirable because next year’s growing conditions are uncertain.

Consider trial results from multiple sources, including universities, grower associations, seed companies, and on-farm strip trials. Results from other corn trials are available at:

Criteria for selecting corn hybrids for grain production

  • Identify an acceptable maturity range based on the growing degree days (GDDs) required for a hybrid to reach maturity. Selected hybrids should reach maturity at least 10 days before the first average freeze to allow time for grain dry-down and to provide a buffer in a cool year or if planting is delayed. Information on GDDs available for corn production for various locations and planting dates, and on the relationship between GDDs and corn maturity is available at:
  • Plant multiple hybrids of varying maturity to spread risk and widen the harvest interval.
  • Very full-season hybrids do not consistently out-yield mid-season hybrids in Minnesota. There is more variability in grain yield among hybrids within a given relative maturity group than there is between maturity groups.
  • Select hybrids according to agronomic traits including suitability for a given crop rotation, emergence, root strength, standability, and tolerance to diseases, drought, insect pests, and herbicides. Standability is a key trait if higher planting rates are used and if there are dry late-season conditions.

For more educational resources on corn production, visit Extension's corn production website.

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