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Drought Impacts Seed Selection for 2013

Becks agronomist Brent Minett

During Becknology days at Beck’s Hybrids in Atlanta, IN, there was a lot of farmer interest in drought-tolerant corn hybrids, but Becks agronomist Brent Minett says just looking at how a hybrid handles drought stress is not the right approach, “Just picking a hybrid because of its drought traits is not a good idea.”  He told HAT that a grower must take into account the total genetic package and consider which field it is going to get planted in, “For example, our 5475 has the Aqua Max trait and is a hybrid for medium to better soils, so to put it on some poor soil that is prone to drought is not a good match.”  He said many of the growers attending the three day show were disappointed with the 2012 season but were optimistic about 2013, “They are anxious to get the harvest over and begin to start planning for next year.”



With cash flow and farm income down this year, there will be a temptation to cut back next year. Minett says, despite the drought, we should farm for a good year, “Some guys will want to cut back on planting population,  but we really should try and forget some of what happened this year.”  He urged growers to plan for 2013 to be more of an average year. The drought resulted in very light disease and insect pressure this year, but Minett warned growers cannot count on that for next year, “Some guys are talking about planting non-GMO crops, but I still think triple stack hybrids that protect a crop from as many insects as possible is a wise move.” He added that one year is not a good predictor whether we will have root worm pressure or corn borer pressure next year, “This is especially true for north and northwest Indiana.”


While it is very early in the process, seed orders at Beck’s over the weekend were reflecting about the same mix of corn and soybean acres as normal, an indication that farmers are not adjusting their rotation because of weather or market conditions.  Several Beck’s sales representatives who were manning the order desk confirmed that early orders were not showing any major shift in acreage mix. A few did indicate, however, that interest in corn hybrids was outpacing interest in soybean varieties.


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