Check Stress Emergence, High Suitability Ratings for Corn-After-Corn Success

DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 28, 2009 - Growers practicing corn-after-corn rotations can increase their odds for success by reviewing hybrid stress emergence and high residue suitability ratings for the 2009 growing season, especially when planting early, says an expert from Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business.

With the increase of continuous corn acres, stress emergence is becoming an important trait for growers to consider when choosing the right hybrid for the right acre.

"If a seedling is exposed to cold, wet soils, emergence is likely delayed and the seedling may be severely damaged or killed," says Imad Saab, Pioneer research scientist. "It is important for a grower to choose a hybrid with a high stress emergence rating to help mitigate these risks."

Each Pioneer® brand corn hybrid has a stress emergence agronomic rating to help growers choose hybrids suitable for specific early-season conditions. To generate stress emergence ratings, Pioneer tests hybrids for several years under a wide range of stressful environments including early planting and no-till corn-after-corn. Pioneer also has developed industry-leading lab tests to help breeders develop hybrids with superior stress emergence using molecular breeding technologies. Hybrids that show superior potential for stand establishment and uniformity under stress are assigned higher ratings.

Stress emergence scores of six to nine indicate above-average potential, five indicates average potential and one to four indicate below-average potential to establish normal stands under stress conditions.

The next thing to consider is the high residue suitability rating. In no-till or strip-till practices, the residue left by cornstalks from the previous year can hinder the seedling's ability to emerge successfully.

"A field with residue can impair emergence in several ways," Saab says. "The residue acts as a sun block which slows down soil warming and stand establishment. Residue also holds excess water which can promote seedling disease. One way growers can help emergence in no-till is by using a residue cleaner on the planter to help warm the soil around the seed and push aside residue clumps."

Pioneer uses a research-based system of rating high residue suitability for Pioneer corn hybrids. The five key traits Pioneer combines to provide growers a rating are stress emergence, northern leaf blight, gray leaf spot, anthracnose stalk rot and Diplodia ear rot. Based on these five criteria, hybrids are rated as Highly Suitable (HS), Suitable (S) or Poorly Suited (X). The ratings also take into account the relative importance of the traits in different corn production areas.

Corn-after-corn fields can harbor pests more easily than rotated fields. Pioneer offers several plant and seed technologies for controlling corn insects and diseases that increase in corn-on-corn production systems.

"We often see increased insect pressure in corn-after-corn production," Saab says. "To control those insects, Pioneer offers many above- and below-ground solutions to meet each grower's needs, including Herculex® RW and Herculex® XTRA traits and Poncho® 1250 seed treatment."

Herculex RW protects against corn rootworm (CRW) including western, northern and Mexican CRW. Herculex XTRA contains both the Herculex® I and Herculex RW traits. The Herculex I trait protects against European and southwestern corn borer, black cutworm, western bean cutworm, fall armyworm and lesser and southern cornstalk borer.

Poncho 1250 is a seed treatment available to growers who want to control CRW in low to moderate infestations, and it also protects against wireworm, white grub, grape colaspis, seed corn maggot, billbug, chinch bug, flea beetle and black cutworm.

For 2009 planting, Pioneer is offering Cruiser Extreme® 250 seed treatment on all corn hybrids to protect against a broad spectrum of early-season insects and diseases. Cruiser Extreme® 250 is a combination of Cruiser® insecticide plus three fungicides: Maxim® XL, Apron XL® and Dynasty®. This package combines superior insect protection with the most robust seed treatment fungicide package on the market.

"Choosing an optimal planting date is key to achieving the highest yields," Saab says. "Make use of the vast knowledge resources available through your local sales professionals. They can help you choose the right genetic package and management options for your fields."

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