Wednesday, November 28, 2012

“Buy the Traits You Need” - The honor roll of top-performing corn hybrids tested in 2012

The principles for selecting corn hybrids in the transgenic era include: 1) using independent yield trial data and multi-location averages, 2) evaluating consistency of performance, 3) assuming that every hybrid must stand on its own for performance, 4) paying attention to seed costs, and 5) buying the traits you need. This publication addresses the principle of “Buying the traits you need.”

There are numerous sources of independent yield trial data, but few of these sources summarize data over numerous locations for the same set of hybrids. In the UW Corn Hybrid Performance Trials publication (A3653), multi-location averages are presented in Tables 7-22.

As farmers make hybrid selection decisions they must consider buying hybrids with the traits they need for their farming operation. Often farmers do not need all the traits sold in hybrids. For example, the corn rootworm trait is not usually required for production fields in northern Wisconsin. “Buying the traits you need” can be confusing due to the number of hybrids and transgenic technologies available to farmers. Tables 1 (silage) and 2 (grain) list hybrids that were starred for both yield AND performance index(ices). They are sorted by trait cohorts. For details about the specific transgenic technology and performance see A3653.

Evaluating consistency of performance is done by considering yield for individual locations in A3653 Tables 7-22. Also, consistency can be evaluated using Table 2 (Hybrid Index) and Table 23 (Hybrid History).

Transgenic technologies interact with the underlying genetic germplasm of hybrids within a “family.” These interactions can often result in poor performance. Always assume that every hybrid must stand on its own for performance when selecting hybrids. Do not select hybrids from genetic “families.”

A downloadable spreadsheet that can help calculate seed costs between two hybrids is at

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