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And what about maturity? After all, in more southern parts of the Corn Belt, farmers often plant hybrids that are five to 10 or more days earlier than typical adapted hybrids in an effort to avoid late-summer heat and drought. Would that work if it were applied to dry soil?
- At all locations, the longest-season hybrids out-yielded shorter-season hybrids in at least three-quarters of the modeled years in each of the respective databases. That was true whether soil profiles were wet at planting or very dry.
- At all locations, there was a tendency at higher yield levels for the differential to widen between the full-season hybrid and the very-early hybrid with the full-season hybrid yielding more.
- The analysis shows that hybrids of both maturities should be grown, similar to last year’s conclusion. This will spread risk and maximize yields over years. Nevertheless, the data suggest planting most of your acres in what could be considered full-season hybrids for your area.
Between now and planting, there could be an unusual number of good, soaking rains that provide a soil moisture recharge, and drought conditions could be alleviated. However, if that is not the case, Elmore’s research on plant populations and maturities may help make some hard decisions. Lower populations will conserve soil moisture and a diversity of maturities will spread risk.