One of the most important management decisions a corn grower makes each year is the selection of corn hybrids for spring planting.
During the past 40 to 50 years, there has been continuous improvement in the genetics of corn hybrids, which has contributed to steady increases in grain yield potential ranging from 0.7 to 2.6 percent per year.
To stay competitive, growers must introduce new hybrids to their acreage on a regular basis. Growers should choose hybrids best suited to their farm operation.
Corn acreage, previous crop, soil type, tillage practices, desired harvest moisture, and pest problems determine needs for such traits as drydown, insect and disease resistance, early plant vigor, plant height, etc.
End uses of corn should also be considered — is corn to be used for grain or silage? Is it to be sold directly to the elevator as shelled grain or used on the farm? Are there premiums available at nearby elevators or from end users for identity-preserved (IP) specialty corns such as food grade or non-GMO corn?
Capacity to harvest, dry and store grain also needs consideration. The following are some steps to follow in choosing hybrids that are best suited to various production systems.