New Tech Impacts Seed Decisions

July 25, 2015 02:11 AM

Consider your seed lineup when adopting multi-hybrid technology

Across the countryside, farmers are looking for new ways to maximize one of the biggest investments they make each year—seed. Since soil can vary by the foot, it is critical to match hybrid to soil type on the go to maximize yield. Kinze’s multi-hybrid planter, Precision Planting with the vSet Select system and Raven with OmniRow multi-hybrid control are changing the landscape of growing crops in demanding environments.   

“The success of multi-hybrid technology lies in the variability within a field,” says Mike Kavanaugh, AgriGold agronomy manager. “The more marginal areas or areas with the most distinct variability will benefit most.”

To best address variability within a field, study your seed options. It’s common to choose a hybrid based on overall field performance, but now we have the opportunity to best fit the hybrid to the soil characteristics in each management zone, says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie.

With the chance of multiple hybrids in a field, seed companies are working to match hybrid to soil needs. 

“Farmers will look for hybrids that meet their goals and have similar flowering dates,” Ferrie says. “Therefore, it’s possible to see multiple companies planted within a field. 

When adopting multi-hybrid technology, Ferrie suggests farmers follow these six steps: 

1. Identify your goal. Know your fields, management zones and growing environments. Determine your yield goal and make a plan to achieve it in your highly variable fields.

2. Study available genetics. Understand characteristics, placement and the environments certain genetics thrive in to reap the benefits of multi-hybrid technology.

3. Select the hybrid that best fits each soil condition or management zone. For example, in heavy ground, choose a hybrid that can take advantage of high fertility and high water content. 

“Specific hybrids perform better in sandy soils or droughty soils,” Kavanaugh says. “You now have the ability to cater hybrids to each zone instead of choosing the best hybrid across an entire field.” 

4. In corn, choose hybrids similar in maturity—look at the growing degree units to flowering. This ensures zones pollinate as close together as possible and decreases insect pressure so you don’t have to spray the field twice for silk clippers, Ferrie says.

5. In soybeans, maturities should be similar, specifically with cyst resistance, to help avoid harvest problems. 

6. Select a trusted adviser who understands the strengths and weaknesses of hybrids. Work with a company that can deliver a broad hybrid lineup.  

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