Terral Seed isn't interested in being the biggest seed company in the country. Oh, Terral is always looking for more marketshare for its corn, soybean and grain sorghum varieties, a spokesman says. But, it doesn't aspire to a national ranking.

“Our goal is to be No. 1 in the Mid-South,” says Donnie G. “Dr. Donnie” Glover, research director and chief plant breeder with Lake Providence, La.-based Terral Seed. “We're not worried about the rest of the country. We're Mid-South folks, and that's what counts when it comes to variety performance for us.”

Glover was speaking from the middle of a soybean test plot to part of the estimated 525 farmers and seed dealers attending Terral's annual Corn, Grain Sorghum and Soybean Field Day at its Research Station near Greenville, Miss., July 19.

The field day, which may have been one of the best-attended in the Mid-South in 2001, included stops showcasing Terral's latest varieties interspersed with presentations by Extension specialists from Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

“You can look at these varieties like race horses,” said Glover. “We breed our varieties for performance, testing them here and in Argentina. We know that yield and yield stability are what we have to sell.”

Glover said the Terral location in Argentina, which is at 33 degrees south latitude, even has conditions much like those in the Mid-South. “The nematodes are similar, the weather is similar,” he noted. “By growing our lines down there during our winter, we can bring profitable varieties to you that much quicker.”

“In 2000, we looked at 1,000 new hybrids,” said Bruce Jones, Terral's district manager for Louisiana and south Mississippi. “Only 1 percent of those were selected. If they won't out-yield our current varieties, they are discarded.”

“We're very proud of the fact that we have gained marketshare in each of the last three years,” said Larry Mullen, vice president for sales with Terral. “In the last two years, we have doubled the sales of our corn hybrids.”

He said Terral representatives are especially excited about the new stacked-gene variety, TV26BR10, one of the first hybrids to contain both the YieldGard and Roundup Ready genes that has been specifically bred for the South.

“This hybrid has shown excellent performance in either irrigated or non-irrigated production throughout the Mid-South,” said Jones. “It is a beautiful plant with excellent late-season health and a semi-flex ear. It's adapted for high management environments — deep, fertile soils, irrigation and higher plant populations.

“The YieldGard gene provides whole-season, whole-plant corn borer protection, while Roundup Ready provides the most economical weed control with proven crop safety.”

Other highlights at the field day included:

TV2140RR — the best Roundup Ready variety on the market and one of the best hybrids available, according to Terral representatives. “It is a 114-day maturity hybrid adapted across variable soils,” said Jones. “Hard-textured kernels, excellent shuck and tip coverage are traits that help TV2140RR fight invasive diseases.”

While concerns have been voiced about a “yield drag” with Roundup Ready varieties, “TV2140RR on average has produced three more bushels per acre than the closest conventional variety,” he noted. “You've also heard about problems with Roundup being sprayed around corn in early spring. That's not a problem with this variety.”

TV2160Bt — A 116-day maturing YieldGard hybrid that protects against European and Southwestern corn borer. “This hybrid also provides corn earworm suppression, fewer downed stalks and healthier plants that better withstand adverse weather and invasive diseases,” said Jones. “It produces a long flex ear with excellent shuck coverage, hard kernels and high test weights that contribute to exceptional yields across all soil types.”

TV4886RR — A tall, bushy later-maturing Group IV soybean that has demonstrated excellent top-end yield potential from the Gulf Coast and throughout the Mid-South. “TV4886RR can be planted early or late in the Group IV window and works either drilled or on 40-inch rows,” said Scooter Hodges, district sales representative for Arkansas and north Mississippi. “It's a very good selection for flood irrigation in your mixed to heavier soils.”

TV59R85 — A relatively tall late Group V variety with vigorous growth, which produces a large, bushy canopy. “It is adapted across most Mid-South soil types and has good stress tolerance,” says Hodges. “It has outstanding yields and will excel in deeper soils when irrigated either by center pivot or flood.”

TV59R98 — Another late Group V variety with excellent yields. “This variety's performance is enhanced when planted on row spacings of 7.5 to 30 inches,” he said. “In addition to excellent standability, its yields are protected with above average ratings against stem canker, frogeye leaf spot and aerial blight. Its strong suits are broad geographical adaptation and yield stability.”