Genetics are the foundation of any hybrid’s performance. Though new seed treatments and traits tend to get the most attention, it’s really the genetics working in the background that determine whether a crop is a success or failure.
“Since 1935, the dawn of hybridization, growers have gained about two bushels per acre annually because of genetics,” said Dustin Bowling, AgriGold’s Western Agronomy Manager. “However, for growers today, performance is about a lot more than just high yield potential. It’s about selecting diverse genetics to address limiting factors for multiple environments.”
Growers have always known every field they farm is different. Now, with more advanced planter technology, they’re using strategies like multiple hybrid planting to better match the needs of each individual field.
“Finding one hybrid that can produce across all acres, handle all conditions and live up to yield expectations is very rare. I truly believe that a grower’s seed order should be as diverse as the fields they farm,” Bowling said.
“The goal of choosing multiple hybrids is really to manage risk and get the most out of every acre.”
The first step to selecting for genetic diversity is to identify the individual factors that limit yield.
“Growers need to ask themselves: ‘What challenges do I deal with year in and year out? Is it stand establishment, too much water, not enough water, green snap or dry down?’” Bowling said. “Your selection should focus on solving those problems, not just trying to find the hybrid that won the local plot.”
From there, growers should work with their seed representative to identify hybrid families with good tolerances to address those challenges. AgriGold simplifies this step with Field GX™, a tool that streamlines selection by organizing hybrids into genetic families based on background and agronomic characteristics.
“Growers can just open an AgriGold seed guide or visit our website to see the strengths and weaknesses of each genetic family to fine tune their selection,” Bowling said. “Field GX truly sets us apart from others in the seed industry because it provides farmers a transparent way to get a deeper understanding of a hybrid’s performance before planting it in their field.”
Bowling estimates that less than 5% of U.S. growers currently plant using multi-hybrid technology, but that all AgriGold growers use Field GX to some extent. He predicts genetic diversity will become an even more critical success factor.
“Genetic diversity and Field GX are the future model for growers who want to get the most out of every single acre,” Bowling said.