November 24, 2020

Saga of the Seed: Answer More of Those “Why” Questions

Photo by Kristine Heykants

Photo by Kristine Heykants

Does this sound familiar? One farmer you talk to says a certain hybrid was the best one on his farm. Then the next guy starts talking about that same hybrid and says it’s the worst on his farm. What’s the deal?

“When you start digging into this, you start finding answers,” said Greg Sweeney, MaxYield’s seed team leader. “MaxYield’s team approach helps us figure out the ‘why.’”

Unraveling these mysteries requires a look at field conditions, data, and specific recommendations for the hybrids and varieties in question. This starts with a quick review of “Greg’s Five Commandments” for getting the biggest return on investment with crop production in the MaxYield trade territory, including:

1. Tile drainage

2. Lime

3. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, with an emphasis on potassium

4. Zinc and sulfur

5. Other micronutrients

“Maybe you can’t fix some of these factors, such as when you’re renting land and you can’t add more tile,” Sweeney said. “You can manage these five key areas, however, with seed selection. In fact, seed is one of the few areas where you have total control each year.”

How does a 50-bushel yield bump sound?

Proper seed selection can offer a dramatic payback. “I’ve seen 30- to 50-bushel yield differences, based off of hybrid selection and management,” Sweeney said. “That’s in fields that are right across the fence from each other, where they have the same soil types and weather conditions.”

How does this work? Consider some basic plant biology. Crops mature faster when they grow in soils with low fertility, which leads to a shorter grain-fill period. Some hybrids are adapted to lower-fertility soils, for example, and will offer better yield potential in these conditions.

In addition, the genetic potential of today’s hybrids and varieties continues to soar, thanks to technologies like marker-assisted breeding. The average corn yield potential from the new 2014 Croplan hybrids are 13.8 bushels per acre higher than last year’s new releases.

The research also shows that:

• Hybrids planted in the right soil type can produce a 12.8-bushel yield advantage.

• Hybrids planted at the correct population can offer a 7.1-bushel yield advantage.

• The right cropping system (with the best hybrids for cornon-corn acres or corn-soybean rotations) can equate to a 9.4-bushel yield advantage.

• The right plant nutrition can add a whopping 70.3-bushel yield advantage.

MaxYield has seen similar results with Winfield Solutions’ Answer Plot® system and MaxYield’s own internal research, Sweeney said. “Through our partnership with Dr. Rick Vanden Huevel of VH Consulting Inc., we conduct our own university-style research. This is unique in the ag retail world, and it offers another valuable source of information to help us tailor seed recommendations to our clients’ needs.”

Let’s talk

MaxYield starts working with clients in the early fall to outline a seed plan that is fine-tuned in November, December, and January. Then it’s time to develop a strategy to manage the upcoming crop.

“You select the seed first and manage everything off of that,” Sweeney said. “This helps you make better choices for crop nutrients, fungicides, insecticides, and other key inputs.”

MaxYield’s seed and agronomy specialists are ready to help you design a plan to boost your crops’ yield potential in 2014. To start the conversation, contact your nearest MaxYield location.

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