We tried a semi-flex corn hybrid this year for the first time and its done very well compared to the other fixed ear hybrids we planted. Just wondered if anybody had any thoughts on one versus the other. Is it a bad idea to plant all flex/semi-flex hybrids in one year?
Also wondered if its a bad idea to plant the same hybrid in the same field two years in a row.
My opinion...Never go more than 2 years with a hybrid in a field, and if it is year one with it and it has issues with Goss, or smut or somthing like that don't plant it a second year, it will probably only get worse. Probably a lot more yield potential with semi-flex hybrids. Being a seed dealer I do know at least Monsanto research is finding with semi-determinant ears comes stronger stalks and more drought tolerance than flex hybrids. Out west were we are 16" of precip/yr. it doesn't make sense to me, to breed for drought tolerance they are going to more semi-determinate ear hybrids, so you are suppose to plant more population to make up for it, but more population means more plants using water to make grain so it sort of cancels itself out...wonder if it has anything to do with them wanting to sell more bags of seed???? In my mind instead of dropping 17K on dryland out here (which is pushing population pretty hard for our area) I would rather plant a hybrid with a little flex and drop it in at 13K and get bigger ears and have 4K less plants per acres that are all competing with each other for moisture, that is how you get drought tolerance out in our country in my opinion.
I havent found any downsides to the semi-flex. Most seed recommendations are about 2-5 thousand seeds higher than most farmers plant around here. So with the semiflex they can plant at the normal population bbut have the oppritunity to get higher yields like they would get with high populations.
IMO, the most important thing is to understand what you're planting, and plant it at a population that is going to allow it to succeed. If you're planting a fixed-ear hybrid, you have to give it some population in order for it to yield to its potential (if you don't see a small amount of tip-back, you didn't plant it heavy enough); flex-ear hybrids will tolerate and compensate for lower populations, but, as was mentioned earlier, sometimes at the expense of standability and drought tolerance, especially if they're planted at too high of a population.
I would not recommend planting the same hybrid on the same field in consecutive years. Nature adapts far too quickly.
Going into next season, a corn with an ear that has some flex to it may not be a bad hedge, especially if moisture is going to continue to limit us. Population can be dialed back by a couple thousand and if it does rain, it won't hurt you, because the plants will compensate.