By Geoff Geddes
For farmers, the bottom line must be top of mind, so when you talk about the best soybean varieties and corn hybrids for 2020, they are all ears.
The opportunity to optimize profit and risk is to find the right balance between yield potential and maturity. To find this balance, NorthStar Genetics coaches farm customers to grow more than one variety. A rule of thumb is 20/60/20. Grow 20% of your acres with an early maturing variety for your geography, 60% in the sweet spot and 20% with a longer maturing variety to push for bigger yields.
In seeking early maturity and strong yield, you can’t always have your cake and eat it too. However, NSC WATSON RR2Y has defied those odds for several years. “Despite being ultra-early, Watson continues to be a top yielder,” says Claude Durand, Product Development Manager with NorthStar Genetics.
A few varieties are worth noting under the “early to mid” maturity class.
“Varieties in the ‘early to mid’ group tend to be stick-like rather than bushy, but NSC REDVERS RR2X is a new bushy line that is very competitive early on and fills in rows nicely. Redvers’ plant structure and option to use the Xtend Weed Control System ranks it as the top performer for weed management. Redvers yield trial results were very strong this year.”
Fellow newcomer NSC NEWTON RR2X is another notable in this class. It has one of the best pod heights available and should be a welcome addition after some challenging weather on the prairies this year.
“There wasn’t a lot of field work done after the weather issues, so we are probably looking at cooler soils in the spring,” says Durand. “Fortunately, Newton seems to tolerate cooler soils better than most varieties.”
Not to be outdone, NSC GLADSTONE RR2Y is the top yielder in the “early to mid” line, offering a bushy plant that fills in wide rows and performs well in tough conditions.
Looking at the “mid to long” category, NSC SPERLING RR2Y is a consistently high yielder with a strong disease package that also thrives in difficult circumstances, including drought. “Sperling is an overall very good variety. Quite simply put, Sperling acres continue to increase because it yields.”
For long season varieties, NSC WINKLER RR2X is a recent addition that is already turning heads. Currently NorthStar Genetics’ best yielder, it promises extremely high yield potential, something it has demonstrated in both internal and external trials.
“We anticipate a difficult spring which could lead to some growers getting behind on their seeding. Growers may be looking for earlier maturing varieties than normal,” says Durand. “NorthStar Genetics has the best portfolio of early varieties on the market. If you wind up having to plant soybeans in June, options like NSC LEROY, NSC WATSON, and NSC REDVERS can help you make the best of things.”
If you’re wondering what’s new and exciting in Western Canadian corn these days, pay close attention to NorthStar Genetics.
“This year we are entering the 2020 planting season with an almost entirely new suite of hybrids to join the existing corn lineup,” says Dieter Schwarz, Corn Product Line Manager/District Sales Manager for NorthStar Genetics. “We are excited about our grain and silage corn hybrids.”
Two new grain corn hybrids are 191 and 255.
191 is an 80 day hybrid that is a perfect fit for grain growers. 191 has tall plant structure, excellent plant health, excellent standability, and good dry down.
“191 is a full season product that fits well into those longer season areas of Western Canada,” says Schwarz.
255 is a source of excitement right now, and for good reason.
“It’s a high producing, full maturity line, and that seems to be where the market is going. Though it’s rated as 83 day maturity, it has been maturing much faster in early testing, so could work in areas where growers now use 79 or 80 day products.”
That flexibility means the long list of attributes for 255 are accessible to more and more producers: big yield, excellent dry down, superior standability, and amazing plant health.
“255 is winning trials and winning hearts and minds in the process. The only downfall is we were conservative and may not have produced enough to fill the strong demand that has already formed after growers took their first look at it.”
There is also a lot of buzz around NorthStar Genetics silage-specific offerings.
“All of our silage-specific products are new and feature a floury kernel. We provide the choice of conventional or Roundup Ready for our hybrids,” says Schwarz. Floury kernels offer more available starch to the animals. “910S is the conventional version and 913S is the Roundup Ready option of our 75 day floury.”
“We also have an 89 day floury leafy product. Leafy means bigger and more leaves above the cob. 930S (conventional) and 932S (Roundup Ready) are seeing strong interest and uptake. We have had great results, including superior yield potential and excellent plant health.”
“Overall, our top lines bring you better plant health, good vigour, strong plant intactness, and less stock breakage,” says Schwarz. “The benefits translate to more yield, good bushel weight, and better quality grain at the elevator and for your cow.”
NorthStar Genetics really wants to provide the best varieties and hybrids to help farmers maximize their bottom line.