Before the first seed went into the ground this spring, growers knew it was likely to be a year of very thin profits on corn. As a result, many opted to cut production costs by not buying highly-stacked hybrids or, in some areas, even going non-GMO. Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh with Beck’s says this made sense, “The primary concern for stacked hybrids is rootworm; and, if a grower has had this problem, we recommend a stacked hybrid. Corn borer, however, is hit and miss. If a customer is outside the rootworm zone, then he can get away with only above ground protection.”
One area of Indiana where this trend was most notable was Eastern Indiana. Beck’s agronomist for this area, Brett Minett, says this is a trend that has been occurring more and more in his area for the past few years, “For the past 3 years, we have seen more and more growers in this area going with only above ground protection or even using non biotech products.” He added, with low corn prices, using fungicides on corn is also something that just did not make economic sense, “You need to see about a 10 bpa advantage to spray fungicide on corn. In this area, I just don’t see that happening.” With corn prices forecast to be down in 2017, he expects this trend to continue.