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A Seed Strategy That Maintains Top Yield Potential and Limits Risk

WESTFIELD, Ind. (April 3, 2024) – The easy way isn’t always the best way. Case in point: An “easy” way to choose (and sell) seed is to pick the top one or two plot performers. “That approach isn’t going to help anyone out in the long run,” warns LG Seeds Agronomist Bryant Luers.

Why? For one, dealer test plots typically feature high-quality soil and the best management practices, which may or may not reflect farmers’ reality. A seed choice based solely on plot results doesn’t account for variations in management styles, soil type or drainage from farm to farm. And using just one or two hybrids doesn’t adequately protect a farmer against weather, disease, weed and pest threats.

“The best results start with a detailed look at each field and how to manage for the top yield potential on each while guarding against downside risk,” says Luers. That’s where diverse genetics and LG Seeds’ Plant Three Initiative come in.

Using diverse genetics to safeguard crops
“Genetic diversity is more important than ever before,” Luers says, noting the weather extremes farmers have encountered in recent years. “Planting at least three hybrids with distinct genetic backgrounds safeguards farmers against downside risk while also maintaining upside potential.”

If a farmer’s portfolio consisted of just one or two offensive hybrids and he or she encounters drought stress, the downside risk could be huge, Luers says. He explains, “Planting a mix of offensive and defensive hybrids spreads the farmer’s risk while still leaving open the possibility of upside potential if conditions are ideal.”

The Plant Three Initiative has proven an “excellent tool driving that conversation about genetic diversity and its benefits — namely, maintaining consistent profits,” Luers says.

It has also been well received by farmers. “Almost every farmer can think of real-life examples where using genetic diversity benefited or would have benefited their operation,” he says. “And many of those experiences are fresh in their memory.”

Resistance protection, too
Genetic and trait diversity are increasingly a priority when making seed choices, according to Luers.

“An uptick in corn rootworm pressure in recent seasons has made trait diversity a bigger focus,” he continues. After relying on the same trait to control corn rootworm for the past decade-plus, Luers says resistance against that mode of action is mounting.

“We’re having more conversations about other, less heavily used modes of action like DuracadeViptera or SmartStax® PRO,” Luers says. “Pairing our one-of-a-kind genetics with traits has given farmers the ability to go out with more confidence and rotate traits, solidifying their defenses against corn rootworm. Trait rotation will help us tremendously over the long run.”

One size does not fit all
When choosing which three (or more) hybrids to plant, Luers encourages a thorough examination of each farm and its needs over a one-size-fits-all approach.”

“Reach out to your local LG Seeds agronomist if you need support making those decisions,” Luers advises. “We get looks at corn hybrids and soybean varieties across a broad geography, in multiple different scenarios every year. That gives us a good idea how various seed products fit on farms.

“That helps us support farmers in picking out the best three or four hybrids for their operation to maximize yield potential while also minimizing downside risk,” he continues. “That’s a win-win.”

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