Held in early August, the Prairie County, Ark., field tour brought producers, Extension personnel and seed representatives together. Standing before a field of many corn varieties, seed reps spoke of their company offerings. Below, in the order they appeared on the tour, are their comments.
Pioneer 34B24 and 33J57
“As we look to what will work in rice country, everyone wants to get their corn out before rice harvest. So we're trying to stay with some early maturities,” said Jeff Pangle of Pioneer.
“33B24 is the Bt version of 33B23. It's a 109-day corn with good test weight, early and fast dry down. It has a rather long ear shank and a looser shuck for quicker dry-down.
“Both of these varieties are Bts. What we're trying to get is some protection from the European and southwestern corn borers along with the corn earworm.
“Scouting for corn borers is one of the toughest things about growing corn. No one wants to scout in corn during July. That's why Bt is important — less wear and tear on individuals, more protection against pests and less costly spraying. You're looking at about a $10 to $12 per acre upcharge for a Bt product. In other words, for 5 or 6 bushels of corn you get the added protection.
“33J57 did extremely well across the state last year. It's a 113-day Bt corn with excellent grain quality, good late-season plant health and easy dry down.”
“This is one of the top Roundup Ready corns in the state. We've had a lot of farmers switching to Roundup Ready corn and they're already calling us about more Roundup corn for next year,” said Scooter Hodges of Terral Seed.
“This is a Southern hybrid with good shuck coverage and dry down. It has a sister line coming up that farmers should watch for. This is a good corn for Roundup Ready cotton areas. In Mississippi and Louisiana, there's been a lot of drift on conventional corn. Those areas will be going to Roundup Ready corn and this is a good one.
“We have a Bt stacked — 26BR10 — that works well for those wanting to plant later in April. Farmers new to corn growing might want to give this one a shot. It's easy to grow.”
“This is 118-day corn with good, uniform plants. Most of those with corn have asked the question, ‘How can I calculate yield?’ We gave you the formula with counting kernel rows times kernels, population and divide by 90. This type of ear — assuming you have 30,000 of them with about 640 kernels each — would mean a yield of about 220 bushels.
“This year, we're going to have some great corn. Last year, I thought the crop was as good as it could ever be. But now I think this crop, at least in some locations, will be as good if not better,” said Pangle.
“32D99 set the curve last year. Prior to that, the highest yield we'd seen was 31G98 at 241 bushels in 1998. Last year, 32D99 cut 260 in Forrest City. This product has tremendous potential.”
“This has 3223 genetics with common rust. One of the problems as this was planted in Georgia and Mississippi was common rust. This variety addresses that,” said Pangle.
“We sold some of this last year and quite a bit more this year. We've been looking at this one for three years and it has set the bar for yields in mid- to late-season varieties. It's a 117-day corn but dry down-wise it acts more like 115-day corn,” said Pangle.
“For the last couple of years, we've been walking plots with breeders looking at every variety, checking standability, lodging, disease resistance We've also been stripping ears and checking kernel counts. 31G98 never counts out to be one of the leaders. But when the combine hits, that all changes.”
“We have this in both Bt and conventional and it'll be coming out next year as a Roundup Ready. It's our number one corn in eastern Arkansas. In 2000, it was placed as a medium maturity and it was the top-yielding corn in that category that year.
“1866 is a 118-day variety with an excellent stalk and stress tolerance. It has good emergence, good root systems, and will fit this area very well,” said W.J. Pesterfield of Triumph Seed.
“This is a new 114-day corn that looks to be an excellent dryland variety. It has good stress tolerance, a great disease package and good test weight. We're looking forward to having that one out,” said Pesterfield.
“This is our stud corn. I like to put it beside G98 in our plots because I know if it can hang with that variety it's going to do a good job. In Prairie County last year there were two plots planted with 818. It ended up being first in one plot and second in the other.
“818 is out as a conventional, as a Bt, as a Roundup Ready and as a stacked.
“It will likely be seen by producers in test plots this summer,” said Wayman Holt of Croplan.
“It's a unique hybrid with some tropical germplasm. This type of germplasm has given us a lot of heat and drought tolerance. If you're going to go dryland in a drought situation, this one will do great. It typically cuts 140 to 150 bushels in that situation.
“In a situation where water and fertilizer are ample, 818 will cut above 200 bushels. It's a really great variety.”
“This is a new corn for us and we brought it in for corn going onto rice ground. This one has eastern genetics in it and that gives it better performance on clays and saturated ground. So when we plant corn in mid-March or early April followed by rains, this variety looks good,” said Holt.
“This variety is a 115-day corn but it can be the last thing you harvest. You can leave it out there because it has great late-season intactness. Producers can go ahead and cut some other hybrids that might be leaning or having problems and 747 will be fine to wait.”
“This is a 117-day conventional hybrid corn that grows tall and sets ears moderately high to high on the stalk. It works well under both dryland and irrigated systems. We've taken this corn to some silage situations and it performs well in that scenario,” said Robert Prince of Dyna-Gro.
“Last year, 5515 was the plot yield leader at the St. Joe Experiment Station in Louisiana. Out of some 56 hybrids, we topped the test on Sharkey clay. 5515 will be available as a Roundup Ready next year as 58K15.”
“This is our workhorse variety that works well on thin, sandy soils and on mixed or heavy ground. This works well from Arkansas to Louisiana and over into eastern Texas where it continues to shine. This is one of our most consistent yielders and has good shuck coverage and stalk strength,” said Prince.
“This is a racehorse variety that should probably be planted in medium to heavier soils. It will reward you with excellent yields if you'll reward it with a bit of extra managerial attention,” said Prince.