Agronomy Talk

Agronomy Update: Delayed Planting Hybrid Considerations

Published on Monday, May 14, 2018

With all the rain we have had in our area and more in the forecast, I know there have been some concerns about switching to earlier maturity hybrids. I have put together a quick summary of everything you need to know if your considering making the switch.

Know Before You Switch Maturity – Quick Facts

Hybrids mature faster with fewer GDU’s when planted after the first of May.

  • Research from Purdue University and The Ohio State University has shown that, on average, a hybrid requires 6.8 GDU’s less per day to reach black layer (R6) when planted after May 1.
  • For example, a hybrid planted on April 30 may require 2,500 GDU’s to reach R6, but that same hybrid planted on May 31 would only require 2,289 GDU’s to reach R6.
  • Based on GDU’s required to reach R6 for some Beck’s products, this is approximately equal to the same difference when switching from XL® 5513™* (105 RM) to BECK 4110 (91 RM)
  • How is this possible?
    • When hybrids are planted later, we are effectively shortening vegetative growth stages. This is the period of time from planting to tasseling (VT).
    • The time it takes the hybrid to progress through reproductive stages (R1 to R6) remains largely unchanged.

Grain Moisture

  • Grain moisture at the end of the season is subject to many factors such as crop management, hybrid characteristics, and weather patterns.
  • In general, earlier maturity hybrids will be drier in comparison to later maturity hybrids.
  • Later planting does tend to result in less difference in grain moisture across hybrid maturities.
  • Since grain moisture is so dependent on the environment, there is no guarantee that an earlier maturity hybrid will be drier in comparison to a later maturity hybrid.

So You Have Decided To Switch Hybrids? Here is What You Need To Know

  • In general, the benefits of planting adapted hybrids for the area more than offset the consequences if planting up to June 1. If planting after the end of May, drying costs could overshadow the yield benefit from adapted hybrids and it may be best to switch to earlier maturities.
  • You are giving up some yield potential – later maturity hybrids will almost always have more yield potential than earlier maturity hybrids.
  • Later planting effectively shortens vegetative growth stages regardless of maturity.
    • This is the same reason we have optimal planting dates to maximize vegetative growth prior to tasseling and reproduction.
  • If you are making the switch to an earlier maturity hybrid, it is best to select hybrids for the current planting conditions as well as the harvest environment.
  • Products such as BECK 5337, BECK 4919, and XL® 5113™* provide good emergence and excellent hybrid characteristics for late-season standability and drydown.

Additional Resources

Click here to access the University of Illinois' tool* to calculate hybrid maturity based on planting date for your local area.

I have also included a tutorial video on how to use this tool below!

If you have any remaining questions, please reach out to our team of Beck’s representatives who are happy to work with you make the best decision for your operation.

Have a great week!

Eric Wilson | Field Agronomist


Disclaimer* This tool does not account for the reduction in GDU’s after May 1 and needs to be manually adjusted within the tool to compensate.

*XL® is a registered trademark of Pioneer. XL® brand seed is distributed by Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc.

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