"There is a strong possibility that this happens," says Nafziger. "A comprehensive genetic analysis of all of today's hybrids would reveal considerable relatedness. And, in some cases, hybrids with different names would be genetically identical. This is possible because some companies that originate hybrids license their production and sell to other seed companies," Nafziger notes. "Most companies do this on a non-exclusive basis, meaning they can license the same hybrid or inbreds to more than one seed company."
Nafziger notes many related hybrids are not identical, but it's difficult to know the extent to which a slightly different genetic makeup affects performance in the field. Lauer agrees. "I think the danger of selecting similar genetics between companies has been the case for some time," he says. "The only time you wouldn't have it is when a seed company has its own breeder and its own genetics."
Steps Growers Can Take
To help ensure you're planting unique genetics, consider the following suggestions (from Nafziger, Lauer and Paul Carter, Pioneer agronomy sciences manager):
- Buy unique hybrids across a range of maturities that match your operation.
- While Federal seed law allows seed to be sold under a brand name, it also requires the seed corn tags or bags to identify the variety name. To spread your risk, check the variety name on the tag to make sure you're not planting hybrids from two different companies that have the same variety name.
- Your seed provider can help you locate the variety information on the tag or bag. They can also help you better understand how much genetic diversity you're purchasing within the lineup of the 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. A good relationship with a knowledgeable and experienced seed company representative also can help you obtain transparent information about the genetics of hybrid seed products you buy.
Genetic Diversity in Hybrids from Pioneer
Pioneer offers real genetic diversity. Each and every Pioneer® brand hybrid is a unique product. No other product on the market will offer the same genetic and trait combination to growers. Pioneer customers can be certain that each Pioneer brand hybrid is different from other Pioneer brand hybrids and genetically different from competitive brands. Your Pioneer sales professional can help you select a package of hybrids with diverse genetics and the right combination of traits for each particular field.