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Picking the Right Corn Hybrid

With Rene Mabon and Justine Cornelsen #

Thinking of adding a corn hybrid as part of your crop rotation strategy for next season? If so, here are several considerations that can impact your choice of seed:

Silage or Grazing? #

“The first thing to consider when selecting a corn hybrid is making the end-use decision, is the crop going to be used for silage or will it be grazed?” says Justine Cornelsen, an Agronomic and Regulatory Services Manager for BrettYoung.

“Many corn hybrids can be used for grain, silage and grazing, but it’s good to go in with a game plan because you’re going to manage the crops differently,” Cornelsen says.

Cornelsen notes that grazing and silage corn hybrids both have their own respective advantages. Grazing corn requires far less labour once it’s been seeded since it requires only minimal applications, doesn’t need to be harvested and no storage is required. Silage requires a little more effort, but provides cattle with a dense, compact source of high-energy feed with high protein levels.

Focus on Maturity #

An important part of planning is choosing a corn hybrid that has the maturity that fits the area you’ll be working with. Fellow Agronomic and Regulatory Services Manager, Rene Mabon, explains that while it’s not an exact science, determining the typical heat units an area receives is a good starting point when choosing the corn hybrid and maturity rating that’s right for you.

If you choose a hybrid for silage, Mabon points out that it’s important to select one that has a wide window of harvest, which will provide you with more time to do your harvesting. On the other hand, if you choose a grazing hybrid, make sure it has good stalk strength and will not easily fall over since you will want to leave it standing through the winter.

Build a Solid Foundation #

One bit of advice Mabon often gives growers about corn hybrids is to make sure to do a good job planting it, so it gets off to a solid start. That will help to ensure growers get the right population in their field which in turn helps provide a uniform stand.

It’s Okay to Play the Field #

Cornelsen’s advice to growers who don’t have a lot of experience with corn? Try multiple hybrids when starting out to determine which ones are the best fit for your farm.

“Completing an on-farm comparison allows you to decide which hybrids perform well under your farming environment, while being able to assess a variety of agronomic traits valuable to your operation,” she explains.

Still on the Fence? #

Not quite sure about whether a silage or grazing corn hybrid is right for you and your farm? Then consider the fact that the cost of planting corn can consistently provide a good return on investment.

“It can give you probably the most yield of quality forage per acre of most of the crops available and the most energy per acre,” Mabon says. “The yield relative to the cost can be very good.”

For more information on BrettYoung corn and choosing the right hybrid, contact your BrettYoung Regional Account Manager.

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