Selecting Your Seed Corn Hybrid

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There are many important factors to consider when choosing which hybrids to place in your fields.  With today’s ever-changing trait packages and high turnover of genetics, choosing hybrids isn’t as easy as it once was.  Hopefully this guide will help simplify this process.


  1. Maturity – Maturity is single-handedly the most important characteristic to pay attention to when choosing hybrids. Choosing hybrids that are too late or too early can prove to be costly. As a general rule of thumb, choosing hybrids that reach physiological maturity 1-2 weeks before the average killing frost are most appropriate. The chart below can be used to help select hybrids as well. It is important to purchase hybrids that have a difference of 5-8 days in maturity. This spreads out the risks of having stresses at crucial times in plant development.

    Approximate Relationship Between Maturity Indices For Corn Hybrids
    Relative Maturity (in days) Growing Degree Days/Unitsa
    75-80 1800-1900
    80-85 1900-2000
    85-90 2000-2100
    90-95 2100-2200
    95-100 2200-2300
    100-105 2300-2400
    105-110 2400-2500
    110-115 2500-2600
    aGrowing Degree Days/Units – [(maximum temperature + minimum temperature)/2]-50 summed for each day from planting to physiological maturity. Daily maximum temperatures greater than 86°F result in use of 86°F in formula; minimum greater temperatures less than 50°F result in use of 50°F. Source: Selecting Corn Hybrids, A3265, Paul R. Carter
  2. Yield – Yield is obviously very important when selecting hybrids. It is important to pick hybrids that have shown consistent multiyear data. Particular varieties can be inconsistent across the span of three or even two years. Another thing to pay attention to is where the source of the yield data. On farm trials are not always the most accurate sources of yield data. While they can prove to be valuable, trials such as the University of Wisconsin Hybrid Trials or the F.I.R.S.T trials are unbiased and very reputable.
  3. Traits – Selecting trait packages that pertain specifically to your needs is very important. It’s becoming very difficult to keep track of the new traits that are coming down the pipeline. At Elk Mound Seed we are trying our best to make this as simple as possible.
  4. Standability – Choosing corn hybrids that are going to stand well in the field is pertinent. Hybrids that have good stalk and root ratings are going to make your life easier once harvest comes. It can also make your operation more profitable.

    There are many other characteristics that are important to pay attention to such as ear type, test weight, green snap, staygreen, plant/ear height as well as more. Taking these into consideration can help make your farm more profitable. It’s all about doing your research before purchasing your seed.

    Hopefully this guide can help you decide what hybrids to select from Elk Mound Seed. If this guide hasn’t answered your questions, or if it has sparked new questions, please feel free to call us at 800-401-7333.