Trends and tips for variety selection
−− Expert interview with Gabriel Müller, Technical Marketing Manager Seeds, Syngenta
Jan. 15, 2020
The breeding progress is more in maize than in other crops. In a German study, the annual yield increase of 1.6 dt / ha was measured in the official tests of the past 27 years. In practice, 1.27 dt / ha and year were found. But other criteria are constantly being improved, such as stability, disease resistance, feed value and, in recent years, stress tolerance towards environmental factors. With this progress, the change is worthwhile. However, the farmer must also get to know the variety on his specific location. That is why we always recommend that only a part of the area be filled with a new variety. In principle, it can also be said that new maize varieties are of great interest to many farmers.
Environmental stress - what does it mean and what does breeding do?
It's about heat stress on the one hand and drought stress on the other. The breeding and variety development is in the process of breaking down these factors and selecting correspondingly more stable varieties by means of complex field tests that simulate drought stress. So far, environmental stress tolerance has been an issue, particularly in the continental climate in Eastern Europe or in southern Europe. Such extreme weather events have also been known in Central Europe since the summer of 2018. Accordingly, varieties are now also offered with a profile that can cope better with such adverse circumstances and are generally very robust. At Syngenta, these are labeled with the Artesian label.
Are there any other trends in corn varieties?
Due to the increased heat sums in 2018, more medium-late varieties were sown in general, even at locations where medium-early varieties are usually found. However, the calculation of the heat sums at some Swiss locations showed that these heat sums were lower again in 2019. Unfortunately, when sowing, we do not know how the weather is developing and the farmer has to choose a variety. Too late varieties can result in delayed ripening, with corresponding follow-up costs. With varieties that are too early, you give away potential yield.
What do you recommend when choosing a variety with these increasing uncertainties?
Two things: First, to choose a robust variety with little fluctuation in yield - our varieties with the Artesian label make it easier to choose. Secondly, when choosing later varieties, you should not take too late varieties if medium-early varieties have been grown up to now. A medium-late variety with a rapid maturation within the medium-late range can be the solution here. In this way, the earnings potential can be increased without taking too great a risk of ripening too late. Varieties such as SY Glorius or SY Enermax show correspondingly rapid ripening behavior. Of course, other criteria such as disease tolerance, stability and feed value must also be taken into account when choosing the variety.
You can find out more about Artesian here .
Editor's note: This article was originally published in Germany. This English summary has been prepared with Google Translate and edited for clarity.
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