Choosing The Right Corn Seed For Your Acres
Choosing the right corn seed for each field on your farm is one of the most important decisions you will make, as it impacts upfront costs, yield potential, additional input costs and harvest flexibility. Carefully consider the relative maturity range, technology or trait needs as you select the right hybrids for your next crop. Don’t for get to factor in your own management style and preferences.
Choosing the Right Maturity Range for Your Corn Seed
One of the first decisions to make in choosing seed is to identify the relative maturity to plant. Kussmaul Seeds offers conventional, traited and organic corn seed in a range of relative maturities. We have RMs to suit our entire sales region; the Midwest Corn Belt, New York, plains, and western states including Washington. We have a special emphasis on the tri-state region of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The right maturity for your acres will be based on several factors. The factors include your location, expected planting and first-frost dates, as well as the intended end use for the crop.
The University of Minnesota Extension recommends choosing hybrids that will reach maturity at least 10 days before the first average freeze to allow time for grain dry-down and to provide a buffer for delayed planting in the spring or cooler summer temperatures that result in fewer growing degree days than normal.
While there is no specific industry standard for measuring relative maturity, it roughly equates to growing degree days. For example a 95-day relative maturity hybrid needs between 2,350 and 2,400 growing degree days from planting to maturity. Each one-day increase in relative maturing increases the growing degree day requirement by an average of 22.
Wide Range of Relative Maturity Offered
While Kussmaul Seeds offers corn seed with relative maturity for corn seed ranging from 75- to 115-day, our deepest offerings are in the 90- to 105-day range preferred by farmers in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, while our corn growers in New York often prefer even earlier corn in the 85- to 95-day range to ensure the ability to go from field to elevator without incurring additional costs for drying.
The University of Minnesota echoes this approach for other areas as well, noting that “full-season hybrids do not consistently out-yield mid-season hybrids in the Upper Midwest.” (Source: “Selecting corn hybrids for grain production,” University of Minnesota Extension) Even when there might be a slight yield advantage, the university says, costs for drying or a moisture penalty at the delivery point could offset any financial gain.
Farmers should also strongly consider varying the relative maturity of the hybrids they choose. A range of relative maturity seed will reduce the risk of an entire crop being damaged by poor conditions. It can also widen the harvest time frame for your corn crop.
Choosing the Technology and Traits For Your Corn Seed
Once you’ve settled on the relative maturity range that fits your acres, determine which technology or other traits make financial sense. Also keep in mind the fit with your management style.
Kussmaul Seeds offers seed from the world’s top technology trait providers to our customers. This gives you the best options when choosing herbicide tolerant corn seed. We are licensed to sell both Bayer (Roundup Ready) and Syngenta (Agrisure) technologies to growers. These technologies offer tolerances to glyphosate, glufosinate ammonium, or both. Within our insect resistant hybrids, you can also choose between options that include “refuge in the bag” (noted in our catalog as RIB or E-Z, depending on the licensing entity) or those that may requiring planting a separate hybrid as a refuge in your acres. Your crop management style will dictate whether the additional convenience of refuge in a bag is worth the additional cost.
Most of these technologies are available individually or as “stacked” hybrids within our corn seed lineup. Growers should carefully consider the exact needs of each of their fields to avoid spending more than necessary on traits or technology that do not actually create enough greater yield to provide a positive ROI in their specific situation.
Specific technology and traits available in Kussmaul Seeds corn hybrids include:
- VT Double Pro®
- Roundup Ready Corn 2®
- Agrisure Duracade®
- Agrisure Artesian®
- PowerCore® Enlist®
See our full list of traited corn hybrids here.
Why conventional corn seed might be your best choice
While there are many benefits to the biotechnology and other licensed traits available in today’s market, each new technology or trait comes at a cost, and growers focused on minimizing costs may find that they can generate as much return with lower-cost conventional seed, especially if their acres and management style don’t demand technology to grow a successful crop.
With many individual technologies costing an average of $30 per acre, and some multi-trait stacks running as high as $75 per acre, it is essential that growers carefully calculate the best options for their operations. Saving on technology fees can go a long way toward herbicide and insecticide costs. Growers who regularly rotate crops may not benefit from those traits as much as those who plant corn-on-corn in the same acres year after year.
The 2021 Kussmaul Seeds Product Guide includes the Resicore® Corn Herbicide program used at Kussmaul Seeds for conventional corn alongside crop rotation; the entire spray program costs little more than the technology fee alone for Roundup Ready corn.
Regular soil testing and crop scouting can help growers develop a stronger understanding the needs of each of their fields, both in nutrients and in crop protection, in order to avoid spending extra on unnecessary technologies.
See our conventional corn seed lineup here.
Helping You Choose the Best Corn Seed for Your Acres
Kussmaul’s district sales managers can be strong resources for growers in choosing the right relative maturity, necessary technology, and inbred traits for each of their fields. We can also assist with soil testing, assessing insect pressure or other known pathogens to refine your choice of seed.
Find the sales manager for your region on our website here or download a complete catalog of Kussmaul Seeds corn seed (conventional, organic, traited and silage-specific), soybean seed, alfalfa seed, forages and wildlife mixes.