Buying a bag of corn seed once was a relatively simple chore, but my how times have changed.

“Now, it’s full genetic traits, it has different seed treatments on it, and it’s becoming more and more complicated. In fact, I would say buying seed corn is more complicated than almost any other crop we deal with, including cotton,” said Dave Buntin, University of Georgia entomologist, speaking at the recent Georgia Corn Short Course held in Tifton.

The traits in cotton seed are relatively simple compared to those in corn, he says, because they’re concerned only with caterpillars and herbicides.

Corn seed also is becoming more expensive, adds Buntin, causing growers to ask if they’re getting value for the extra cost.

“There are many changes this year in terms of seed treatments,” he says. “Poncho/Acceleron 250 is the standard product as far as fungicides go, or Cruiser Extreme 250 also is on a number of varieties. If you get it in early enough, you also can order a 1250 rate if you have a high-risk situation like late-planted corn or reduced or no-till corn, or if you’ve had severe problems in your fields. You can also get it treated with nematicides.”

Also, says Buntin, imidacloprid insecticide is registered and can be put on seed at the dealer or on your farm, if you have the proper equipment and want to bump up the rate beyond 250.

All of these products target different pests, he says, and it’s difficult to tell ahead of time which insect pests you’ll have.

Most corn insect pests in Georgia are made worse by reduced-tillage and wet, cool conditions, with the exception of lesser cornstalk borer, which favors hot, dry conditions in conventional practices, he says.