For years, American farmers have been cultivating hybridized corn. In fact, they had been doing it long before GMO corn was ever available. So, what does that mean for today’s farmers? It means that non-GMO corn is still an extremely viable option for their operation.
In almost all cases, farmers are paying for convenience when they use seeds with certain traits. Conventional seed corn in many cases can be more profitable as long as you pay attention to a few important details.
- Crop Rotation. When using conventional seed, crop rotation is a key factor. Insect pressures can rob yields but these pressures can be alleviated with strict crop rotation. Of course, the best defense against diseases is selecting products with disease resistance, keeping in mind any specific diseases that previously occurred in a field.
- Herbicides. The selection and diversity of herbicides cannot be underestimated. Herbicides have come a long way in the past 20 years and those available today allow farmers to select different actions and chemistry. This allows for significant weed control.
- Hybrid Selection. The hybrids you select play a crucial role in yields. It is important that you choose a seed supplier who is exceptionally knowledgeable and has a large inventory of hybrids so you can find the one that fits the specific needs of your farm.
Many growers are looking for a premium for conventional corn and therefore must take great care to manage purity. This can be accomplished by knowing the purity requirements for the intended use of conventional corn. It also is important to manage pollen from other corn products by maintaining barriers. Finally, make sure to thoroughly clean the planter before corn is planted and extensively clean the augers, combine, elevator and storage areas before the harvest.
Conventional hybrids will lower a farm’s production costs, which can lead to increased profits. The secret is to do your research to find the hybrids that will work best for you. The fact that conventional varieties are bred from the highest quality genetics currently available should help put your mind at ease.
If you are considering conventional seed corn, you are not alone. Many growers are moving away from paying more for traited seed when conventional seed works just as well and agricultural experts believe that this is the right decision.