When it comes to promoting corn hybrids, most seed companies lead with yield, yield and yield. But a hybrid that underperforms for yield may get another chance, while a hybrid that drops its ears or is laying on the ground at harvest likely won’t.
For this reason, agronomists will tell you that a hybrid’s staygreen rating is as important as its yield potential. Staygreen means that the plant can maintain transpiration and photosynthesis longer into the season when other corn hybrids might begin to senesce—the death of the plant that occurs naturally near the end of grain fill as the plant’s metabolism slowly deteriorates. Hybrids that stay green late into the growing season are more likely to fight off stress, continue photosynthesizing, use their energy toward developing grain and will be more likely to stand tall at harvest.
Nearly every seed company includes staygreen ratings for their hybrids. Although the language around the descriptions and the rating scale may differ from company to company, the rating itself will give farmers a clue about the hybrid’s grainfill duration, kernel set and test weight and late-season standability. A low staygreen rating signals that a hybrid may need more management through the growing season. These are often called “die and dry” hybrids because they cost less to dry and provide farmers an opportunity to harvest earlier, taking advantage of early price premiums. As a rule of thumb, farmers should plant early drydown hybrids first and harvest them first, at around 18% moisture.
Reducing Disease Keeps Plants Greener Longer
Regardless of the staygreen rating, farmers should always look for genetic disease resistance or tolerance for the prevalent diseases in their area. Fungicides are an option when disease is present at the ear leaf or higher on the plant. Keeping disease in check with fungicide will allow plants to survive longer, promote staygreen and reduce lodging and ear drop.
Another tool to promote staygreen to protect yield and harvestability is using a biostimulant at planting. Farmers should regularly conduct in-season scouting to check for disease and determine if a fungicide is required. Using a biostimulant such as Procure® by Agnition enhances plant health and dark, green leaves to creating crops that better withstand seasonal stresses.
All farmers want high yields, but they also expect hybrids to stand and retain their ears at harvest. Farmers have management options to prevent lodging and ear droppage. Hybrids that maintain a strong green color at harvest are associated with standability and ear retention because the stalks do not break down before harvest. Selecting hybrids with staygreen is one way to ensure upright plants at harvest.
A Biostimulant That Keeps Your Plants Healthier
Procure has Microbial Catalyst® technology that increases the enzymes that raise the plant’s rate of photosynthesis. A 1-2 pint application of Procure increases carbon dioxide intake, promotes stay-green and plant health and leads to higher yields.
Learn more about Procure and how it can help boost photosynthesis and promote staygreen in your corn crop!