ime and time again, complaints about how ugly the corn looks during a period of cool, crappy weather like weve been experiencing are sprinkled with observations that some hybrids seem to tolerate these conditions better than others. Indeed, such stressful growing conditions often highlight genetic differences among corn hybrids for traits such as early vigor or tolerance to stress in general.
If you have planted a corn variety test plot of your own, take the opportunity to walk those plots now and record your observations on general crop appearance and uniformity of growth among the hybrids in the plot. If the individual hybrid strips are not currently labeled with flags or stakes, then begin on one side of the plot with the first hybrid strip and work your way across one hybrid at a time; labeling the hybrid strips on paper as #1, #2, etc. At the end of the season or whenever the plots are officially labeled, you can relate your notes to the actual hybrids.
Recording such hybrid performance information now can help later on when you are trying to make heads or tails of the yield data. Too often, we ignore hybrid ratings for traits such as early vigor when making hybrid selections for the coming year. Yet, the kind of start to the season we are experiencing now should reinforce why such ratings should play a role in hybrid decision-making.