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Corn Hybrids Show Surprising Resilience in Western Corn Belt

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Jan. 29, 2024) – LG Seeds successfully completed a series of experimental corn test plots in a wide geographical area of the Western Corn Belt, expanding the company’s knowledge base and enhancing its product portfolio.

LG Seeds agronomist Mark Grundmayer refers to these plots as “west tests” and says the information gathered helps him make more precise recommendations for farmers.

“Our west tests are experimental plots that we use to select our commercial products for the next year,” he says. “Anytime we can add more knowledge or increase our comfort level on a particular product is good for us, our dealers and our customers.”

The west tests included comprehensive evaluation of hybrid performance across diverse environments — dry versus irrigated, high versus moderate yielding, heavier versus lighter soils, etc. Grundmayer says the adaptability of some hybrids to certain conditions surprised him.

Hybrid performance
“A few hybrids thrived in certain environments that we didn’t anticipate — like LG62C07 on dry land and LG62C22 on irrigated land. A great example is LG58C48, which performed well on irrigated ground with good drainage,” Grundmayer explains. “LG63C82 did extremely well in a high-yield and irrigated environment, and on the early side, LG57C33 performed well, as expected.”

To plan for a successful 2024 growing season, Grundmayer encourages farmers to review how their crops did in 2023 and address concerns when selecting products. Whether heat, moisture, wind or hail, he points out there will likely be a stressor.

“Spread the risk out, both from a maturity and genetic standpoint, to ensure there’s a crop to harvest at the end of the season,” he says. “If you think there will be a lot of stress in July, come in with some early maturity hybrids. Or flip it the other way and push the maturity window a little bit further than usual to help capture breaks in heat or late-season rains.”

Grundmayer advises farmers to select at least four or five different hybrids for their acres. “Incorporating the right mix of genetic diversity and hybrids helps farmers manage and mitigate challenges, such as irrigation issues, scheduling problems or potential water restrictions,” he adds.

Continuous crop scouting, especially in irrigated areas where moisture conditions may contribute to disease development, is a must, says Grundmayer. This helps farmers make timely decisions around weed control, fungicide use and other inputs as the season progresses.

What did you learn in 2023?
Grundmayer encourages farmers to take this time to reflect on how crops did in 2023 and address issues they encountered. “This is a great time to review your crop scouting notes, analyze harvest data and take a second look at the products you have planned for 2024,” he says.

Even though Nebraska saw below-normal moisture in 2023, Grundmayer says tar spot was detected. “We have hybrids that tolerate tar spot very well and can put those in fields that have had some tar spot pressure in the past.”

He wants farmers to plan for success in the face of adversity. “Despite drought conditions, we harvested a crop in 2023 that was a little bit better than anticipated, and we had a relatively open fall with quite a bit of tillage and a lot of fertilizer spread, so we have a leg up on getting some things done in the spring,” he says. 

Work closely with an agronomist
Grundmayer encourages farmers to work with their agronomist to explore the new LG Seeds offerings for optimizing yield potential.

“We have more knowledge about where products perform well and a wider range of hybrids, from early to late, that perform well across the board,” he says. “We’ve added some products to increase our mix of high-performing hybrids that I’m excited about.”

As LG Seeds continues its commitment to innovation and performance, the insights gained from the west tests play a crucial role in shaping product recommendations and supporting farmers in the Western Corn Belt. Learn more at LGSeeds.com.

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