When to switch to a short season hybrid

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

The extreme wet weather this planting season has delayed corn planting relative to past years across much of the state. As discussed in an earlier message, it is important to exercise patience when deciding when to restart field operations following periods of rain. Jumping the gun and compacting soils has the potential to be more detrimental to crop yield and profits compared to delaying planting a few more days.

Research has shown that under average Michigan conditions, it generally pays to switch to a short season hybrid in late May. The basis for the cost effectiveness of switching to a short season hybrid is primarily in the ability to harvest dryer grain in the fall. The optimum time to pull the trigger on the switch to a short season hybrid will vary from year-to-year depending on weather conditions, but it is generally around the third to fourth week of May for much of Michigan.

Hybrid switch
Figure 1. Corn grain value over drying costs ($/acre) for a short season and full season
hybrid as affected by date of planting (DOP). Corn yield data is from East Lansing.
Calculated corn grain price was $4.00 bu. and drying costs were assumed to be $0.07
per bu.(dried to 14.5% M).

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