Placing an order for a large corn isn’t unusual if you’re at the movie theater. However, this year, you’ll likely get a chance to do it when ordering seed corn, too.
The heat and lack of moisture was tough on 2011 hybrid seed fields, says Brent Minett, quality traits marketing manager for Beck’s Superior Hybrids. "Not only were seed yields impacted by poor pollination, but seed size was impacted, too," he says.
It makes sense if you think about it—poor pollination resulted in more segregated kernels that became more rounded and larger in size. Minett says new genetics tend to produce larger seed anyway.
"Large rounds [65 lb. +/–] are not different than medium rounds from a quality perspective," Minett says. Each bag of seed corn must still pass rigorous testing for germination and seed vigor.
Still, Minett says, farmers have the perception that large seeds are hard to plant. "We’ve worked with planter manufacturers and found they can be planted accurately with any brand of planter. It just takes the right adjustments and the correct amount of talc or graphite."
Beck’s will be offering a new Large Round (LR) grade size for 2012 planting. Because larger seed takes a little extra time and effort, they are discounting each unit by $20.
A standard unit of corn is 80,000 kernels, and Minett says Beck’s won’t be adjusting this to compensate for large seed. "We have adjusted the number of units we put in a seed box from 45 to 40 to lower the weight of those boxes and provide a little more room. We just use a larger bag for the individual units," he says.