As corn growers wrap up harvest and evaluate crop-year learnings, researchers and agronomists at AgReliant Genetics also conduct comprehensive post-harvest analysis. The analyses are part of AgReliant’s robust research pipeline that evaluates more than 100,000 hybrid candidates each year for commercial viability. Today, the company shares a “behind the scenes” look at what it takes to deliver high-performing, genetically diverse seed choices to farmers across North America.
Growers can get a sneak peek at AgReliant’s pre-commercial hybrids on the newly launched virtual field trials webpage. The site includes an interactive map and videos of regional agronomists reporting in-season observations. Videos highlight region-specific product performance on such characteristics as root and stalk strength in Minnesota and the Dakotas and corn leaf blight and rust tolerance in the South.
“The industry trends at about 2.5 bushels-per-acre higher yield each year, but newly commercialized products are achieving an average improvement of 4.4 bushels within our testing program,” says Mike Kavanaugh, director of product development for AgReliant Genetics. He credits the program’s success to three key inputs: in-field observations by agronomists who understand farmer needs, a broad testing network that ensures hybrids perform under regional conditions and access to a global germplasm pool that provides genetic diversity and choice.
More eyes on ears
When selecting new hybrids for the company’s seed brands, decision-making goes far beyond data analysis, according to Kavanaugh. “We put more ‘eyes on ears.’ Our brand agronomists spend more than 50,000 hours in test plots, walking fields and seeing the corn firsthand,” he says. Hybrids undergo extensive in-field evaluations each season that ensure real-world performance matches geographic needs.
Hybrids that deliver on all fields
“With nearly 200 testing locations across all yield environments, growers can be confident we’ve tested products under conditions that align with the challenges they face,” Kavanaugh says. This in-field approach, along with diverse and unique genetics, helps growers find the right hybrids to fit their field conditions and disease pressures.
Proper hybrid selection is important to Jeff Newman, who farms in the highly productive soils of western Illinois. Newman tries to achieve the highest possible yield, coupled with protection against diseases like tar spot. “My AgriGold sales rep helps place hybrids with characteristics that fit the soil types in each field,” Newman says. “I also spread my risk by planting hybrids with different genetics. I want to be sure I’m not doubling up on the same genetics.”
Hybrid placement is also critical for brothers Dave and Tom Justison, who farm across seven northern Illinois counties. The brothers contend with highly variable weather and soils. “Based on the research plots, my LG Seeds agronomist knows the true characteristics of each hybrid. I trust the hybrids will perform on my soils,” says Dave Justison. Deep into his corn harvest in mid-November, he faced significant standing water in one 400-acre field. His track combine made it through the muck, but even more important – his corn stood up to the challenge. “The hybrid had the right genetics to keep standing beautifully,” says Justison.
Global germplasm pool that ensures diverse genetic options
Pre-commercial research represents the last step before selection of corn hybrids for the AgriGold® or LG Seeds seed lineup. Of the thousands of options entering the research program each year, only 10 to 25 hybrids meet the high standards for introduction into the brand lineups.
Products selected for commercialization will be announced in early 2022. “Our pipeline is the largest we’ve ever had, giving farmers more genetically diverse, unique choices at every maturity zone,” Kavanaugh says.
For more information on product offerings, contact your local AgriGold or LG Seeds representative or visit AgReliantGenetics.com.
ABOUT AGRELIANT GENETICS
AgReliant Genetics offers unparalleled corn, soybean, sorghum and alfalfa seed solutions to bolster the yield and profitability goals of growers across North America through product brands — AgriGold® and LG Seeds in the U.S. and PRIDE® Seeds in Canada. AgReliant supplies diversified genetics to the market through access to a global germplasm pool in close collaboration with parent companies, KWS & Groupe Limagrain. The team takes pride in its seed innovations, personal connections, market responsiveness and investments in the communities they serve.