Cultivate your 2018 trait strategy today

06:37PM Aug 15, 2017
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By Carl Scholting

Technical Seed ManagerWestern Corn Belt, WinField United


While having the latest corn traits can represent a significant investment, they ultimately offer tremendous benefits. Here is a look at how traits have served farmers in my area of the western Corn Belt this season and how planning your seed purchases for 2018 now can help you forge full speed ahead next spring.


What happened in 2017?

Corn rootworm (CRW) is always an issue in pockets throughout the United States, especially in heavy corn-on-corn acres. CRW technologies such as SmartStax® seed are designed to provide excellent protection against this pest. The fact that traits don’t wash away or become diluted like granular insecticides can be very important, particularly with the large volume of rain we’ve had in several areas of the Corn Belt this year,  


SmartStax® corn and VT Double PRO® corn have been designed to protect against corn earworm, which has been an issue this year. In many areas of the western corn belt, western bean cutworm was a problem in July. Many farmers who chose hybrids with the Agrisure Viptera® trait did not have to spray for that pest.


The value of corn traits

Corn traits offer several huge benefits to farmers. Number one is enhanced insect protection. Prior to having traits, we were using management methods, conventional practices, insecticides and selective herbicides to manage insects and weeds.


With today’s trait technology and advanced breeding methods, we’re able to help protect against destructive insects such as corn rootworm, corn earworm and western bean cutworm, as well as diseases that include Goss’s wilt and gray leaf spot. We are also able to team these traits with nonselective herbicides such as Roundup® and Liberty®, to provide enhanced weed control.


More efficiency, greater productivity and added profitability potential are all potential benefits of using the latest traits.


New options in the CROPLAN® hybrid portfolio

CROPLAN® seed has a number of new hybrids available for planting in 2018. Many will have traits similar to those we already have, such as SmartStax® corn, VT Double PRO® corn and Viptera®. However, there will be new genetic chassis. Key players from 100-day relative maturity (RM) and up include:

  • 4079SS/RIB: A SmartStax® hybrid with 100-day RM, above-average Goss’s wilt rating and good adaptation to corn-on-corn rotations.
  • 4997VT2P/RIB: A VT Double PRO® hybrid with a 109-day RM; broadly adapted to multiple soil types and yield environments.
  • 5370VT2P/RIB: Another VT Double PRO® hybrid with a 113-day RM; very high yield potential with strong northern movement; best for the high-yielding soils with good water-holding capacity.
  • 5252 VT2P/RIB: VT Double PRO® hybrid with a 112-day RM; consistent, high-yield-potential product across a wide range of soil types and environments that offers excellent staygreen and above-average emergence.


A look into 2018

The rotational aspect of continuous corn is going to necessitate CRW protection. Even rotated fields, if they have a history of corn rootworm, are getting that insect trait protection on next year’s seed. As noted, western bean cutworm is progressing quickly this year and farmers are noticing that they will want more Agrisure Viptera® seed in 2018.

Another key item is helping corn resist drought stress. Much of the western Corn Belt and parts of Iowa faced severe drought this year. The DroughtGard® products in the CROPLAN® seed portfolio helped support yield potential when drought stress occurred. I suspect there will be more discussion and questions asked about DroughtGard® products for next year.  


Start planning now

Take note of 2017 field pressures while they are fresh in your mind. What worked and what didn’t pan out the way you wanted? What products do you want to try? What management practices do you want to change? You can’t plant next year’s seed now, but you can start having discussions with your local CROPLAN® seed representative about enhanced insect and disease protection or drought-tolerant hybrids for next year based on what you experienced. Don’t wait until January to begin developing your 2018 hybrid selection strategy.

Always follow IRM, grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. B.t. products may not yet be registered in all states. Check with your seed representative for the registration status in your state. RIB Complete and Design®, RIB Complete®, Roundup Ready 2 Technology and Design®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup®, SmartStax and Design®, SmartStax®, VT Double PRO®, are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design® are registered trademarks of Bayer. Herculex® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.

Agrisure Viptera is a registered trademark of a Syngenta Group Company.

WinField United is a trademark and CROPLAN and WinField are registered trademarks of Winfield Solutions, LLC.


© 2017 Winfield Solutions, LLC