Large ear size drives high-end yield ability in fast-die/fast-dry hybrids.
Within the last few years, there has been a resurgence of the fast-die/fast-dry hybrid. This type of hybrid uses a straight High Yield Genetic Family female, which contributes high yield potential, crossed with Northern and Southern males. These hybrid combinations have little staygreen and late-season plant health, but have greater high-end yield ability, which is driven by large ear size compared to other genetic combinations.
During grain fill, the large ear development initiates a large carbohydrate sink, attracting a strong translocation of plant sugars from the stalks and leaves to the ear. Without sugars in the stalk and leaves to fuel respiration, the plant suffocates and dies quickly. However, it produces a very high yield.
When the fast-die genetics are combined with genetics for a loose husk, grain dries very quickly. This combination of high yield and fast drying can deliver strong profit potential per acre. The High Yield Genetic Family adds sufficient rind strength to keep the hybrid standing in the fall when harvest is timely. However, if harvest is delayed due to a wet fall, the lack of staygreen can lead to stalk-rot problems. This is an even bigger problem with corn-on-corn acres because stalk-rot organisms overwinter on previous crop residue, enabling them to attack earlier.
Fungicide treatments applied to fast-die/fast-dry hybrids promote higher yields and better stalk quality, especially on corn-on-corn acres. Because these plants die healthy, they are not pre-inoculated with the stalk rot organisms.
The fast-die/fast-dry hybrid has a special application when it is planted with the intention of harvesting it early in the fall before soybean harvest. This planned early harvest mitigates the risk of stalk quality issues and allows growers to harvest more acres with the same set of equipment. The fast-die/fast-dry characteristics enable high yield potential and fast drydown, driving more profit potential.
The early hybrids planted for harvesting before soybean harvest add genetic diversity to the portfolio of hybrids the grower would normally use. This new application for early genetics in the crop rotation is made possible by the significant genetic gain through plant breeding. The strategy of planting early hybrids to be harvested before soybeans also helps spread the risk in the development of the corn plant during the key tasseling and silking period.
- Southern: Poor late-season plant health and poor disease tolerance.
- Eastern: Exceptional late-season plant health and disease tolerance.
- Western: Exceptional disease tolerance, but average late-season plant health.
- Northern: Exceptional late-season plant health, but average disease tolerance.
- High Yield: Poor plant health and poor disease tolerance.
- Early Health: Exceptional late-season plant health and exceptional disease tolerance.
- Late Health: Exceptional late-season plant health, but only average disease tolerance.