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Know Your Fields’ Risks When Going to Conventional Corn



Are you considering a move to non-GMO corn in your corn fields next year, or an increase in the number of acres you dedicate to that seed? Yields for conventional corn this year were very good, and Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen says farmers in recent years have increasingly considered a switch back to conventional hybrids, “if for no other reason, the difference in cost.”

He says that’s fine but know there are risks.

“I have nothing against people going to conventional corn without some of the insect traits, as long as they’re confident that rootworms are not an issue and that European corn borer are not an issue, and for many situations that indeed is the fact, that those pests at least at this point in time have not been an issue at least for some.” he told HAT. “So, you can go to these non-traited hybrids and not incur that risk of insect injury, and as long as you’re choosing the non-GMO hybrids that have good yield potential themselves, yes, you can do perfectly fine.”

Nielsen said the southeast Purdue farm decided to go with conventional corn this year, largely because of economics, and Purdue researchers also used non-traited hybrids on several field trials there. Those fields enjoyed the high yields that much of the state experienced this year and there were no issues with insect pests.

“Now, would I say that’s going to happen every year, especially for corn borer in that part of the state? Maybe not. So, especially for things like corn borer, you probably want to make sure you’re walking those fields mid-summer and know if you’ve got corn borer moths flying around. You may still need to do some insecticide.”

If you play it smartly Nielsen says, you can play the game and save a reasonable amount on seed costs. The proprietor of the online Chat ‘n Chew Café spoke last week at the Indiana Farm Equipment and Technology Expo.