Hybrid selection is a critical, often over-looked, decision. The genetic potential of a seed cannot be increased with inputs; once the seed is planted, yield potential can only drop. Choosing the right seed is one of the first steps to establishing productive stands and attaining high yields.
- Hybrid selection begins with identifying an acceptable maturity range. This should be based on growing degree units (GDUs) required for the hybrid to reach black layer or physiological maturity.
- Choosing between a “workhorse” and a “racehorse”. A “workhorse” hybrid is typically a proven hybrid that will yield consistently regardless of environment, while a “racehorse” will do very well in certain environments and falter in unfavorable environments.
- Conservation tillage systems should utilize hybrids with high stress emergence ratings.
- Consider drought stress tolerance as a part of hybrid selection.
- If standability has been an issue, select a hybrid with high standability ratings.
- Know what diseases have been issues on your farm and select hybrids with high disease resistance ratings to match your needs.
- Trait package – understand what traits you need as far as BT traits and herbicide tolerance traits.
Often times, hybrids have specific strengths which allow it to perform in particular environments by planting multiple hybrids so you can decrease risk. Multiple maturity ranges can also help you spread out the harvest interval.