How much do you know about current hybrids that you have purchased? The Ontario Corn Committee announced last week that starting in 2015, they will run public management trials with top hybrids.  However, until we have that information, I recommend you discuss the following with your seed dealer:

Corn Nitrogen Response
Picture A and Picture B are the same hybrid, but were exposed to different rates of nitrogen.  Understanding hybrid response to nitrogen and to the timing of nitrogen uptake is becoming more important.  Today’s newer hybrids take up 29% more nitrogen post-flower than hybrids of yesterday (Dr. Dave Hooker, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus).

Corn Fungicide Responses
Understanding hybrid response to fungicide adds to hybrid specific management.  A hybrids’ dominating performance under both management decisions shows yield stability.  A hybrid may rank much higher under a fungicide management system in comparison, and should be placed accordingly. 

Hybrid response to population varies significantly.  The hybrid in Table 1 must be planted at a higher population to achieve its optimal potential compared to the hybrid in Table 2.  However, if the population is pushed beyond its maximum on either hybrid, unfavourable results may occur; mold/toxin issues, or lodged corn can be the result of pushing too hard. Understanding a hybrid’s limitations will bode well for more favourable results.

Exciting times are ahead in Ontario with this announcement from the Ontario Corn Committee.  Management trials will open the door to many more conversations.

Kirk Van Will, CCA-ON, Maizex Seeds Yield Specialist, West Middlesex & Lambton Counties
Twitter: @KirkVanWill