Hybrid Selection for No-Till Corn Production

Dr. R.L. (Bob) Nielsen
Agronomy Department, Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1150
Office ph. 765-494-4802

Achieving uniform and vigorous stands of corn is an important first step in maintaining the yield potential for any given field, especially in no-till. Uneven germination and emergence can cause yield losses from 10 to 20 percent. Delayed emergers simply cannot compete with older, established plants.

Successful stand establishment can be particularly difficult under no-till conditions. Delayed germination and slow seedling growth commonly occur during no-till corn stand establishment, especially when planting into heavy surface residues.

Three Steps for Corn Hybrid Selection in No-Till

First, identify a group of hybrids with demonstrated superior yielding abilities. Use multi-year or multi-location variety tests and look for hybrids that yield 5-10% above the average within a trial. Do not use reslts from your farm alone! Also look for hybrids that yield well in more than one trial (i.e., consistency). Remember, good yielding hybrids in conventional tillage tend to be good yielders in no-till. Sources of information include university variety performance trials, seed company variety yield trials, and local on-farm variety trials.

Secondly, within that group of elite hybrids, identify those hybrids with traits that are important to no-till corn production. Examples of such traits include cold tolerance (ability to germinate and emerge in cool soils), seedling vigor (ability for strong root development in cool and dense soils), and tolerance to diseases favored by no-till (e.g., gray leaf spot). Remember, great genetic yield potential means nothing if the hybrid falls apart under no-till conditions.

Finally, accept only high quality seed from your seed dealer. The best hybrid in the world may fall apart in no-till if seed quality is poor! Indicators of seed quality include warm germination ratings, cold germination ratings, and the seed company's reputation for quality assurance.

Return to The Corn Growers Guidebook , a WWW resource for corn management systems in Indiana and the eastern CornBelt.

The Chat 'n Chew Cafe.

Purdue University Agronomy Extension WWW Home Page.

Purdue Agronomy On-Line! , Purdue's Agronomy Department WWW Home Page.

End of Document