Diversity is an important strategy to mitigate risk. Corn growers typically plant a number of hybrids to spread out risks associated with weather, disease or pests.

Although choosing genetically diverse hybrids may be your goal, actually achieving it is often difficult. That’s because of the growing concentration of germplasm sources in the industry, which raises the possibility of similar genetics appearing in hybrids from different companies.

According to Paul Carter, Pioneer agronomy sciences manager, and extension agronomists Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois, and Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin, here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re planting unique genetics:

• Buy unique hybrids across a range of maturities that match your operation.

• Check the variety name on the seed corn tag or bag to make sure you’re not planting hybrids from two different companies that have the same variety name.

• Ask your seed company representative to explain how much genetic diversity you’re purchasing within the lineup of the seed company they represent.

• Pay particular attention to harvest moisture values of hybrids tested in the same trial. If they are more than one or two moisture percentage points different, they most likely are different hybrids.

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