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What corn hybrids are best suited to early no-till programs?
While many seed companies have long maintained that almost all of their hybrids are ideal for no-till conditions, it may not be long before you will be able to get more specific answers to this question. That’s because Landec Ag is expanding its temperature-sensitive seed polymer research efforts to determine which hybrids will give no-tillers the best yield results when planted 2 to 3 weeks earlier than normal.
The Early Plant corn system that is being developed by the Monticello, Ind., firm relies on its patented Intellicoat polymer technology to keep water out of the seed until conditions are ideal for germination. As soil reaches a preset temperature (55 degrees, for example), the polymer becomes permeable, allowing the seed to take on water and begin germination.
Some 160 Midwestern corn growers tested the Early Plant system on a limited basis on about 3,000 acres across the Midwest this year. The goal was to determine if seed corn can be safely planted 2 to 3 weeks earlier than normal, when the ground is generally colder.
The temperature-activated polymer should provide you with a wider planting window that will let you make much more efficient use of labor and machinery that should hopefully result in higher corn yields, says Tom Crowley, president of Landec Ag.
He cites an Iowa State University study that indicates the optimum planting time in Iowa is between April 20 and May 5. If you…