How do you select corn products for 2022 after the drought of 2021?

Each year has its own unique challenges. Some are repeats of previous years, while others are brand spanking new. For most of us sitting in the cab or driving down the road with time to contemplate; we wonder how to avoid the same challenges from happening next season. The topic of product selection is normally one that takes up a lot of drive time for me. And as we get into this year’s harvest, and the impact of the drought, we are likely to see some things that might make us think a little harder.  

Drought conditions have such wide-ranging impacts. One of the main impacts is on the yield potential of the corn products you selected for your farm. In a normal year, there is a natural relationship of yield potential and maturity. This yield potential is a combination of genetics and having adequate water and other inputs to take advantage of those genetics. The impact of not enough water decreases yield potential. The timing of the lack of water can further complicate the relationship of potential yield and maturity.

Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist and owner of Crop-Tech Consulting near Heyworth, IL recommended in a recent article in The Daily Scoop to plan for a normal crop.1 So, what does that mean? It means that each year has “normal” rainfall and heat units for your geography.  

There will be areas of the country where an early product had the water it needed to maximize yield potential, and when the soils dried out a later maturity product simply suffered because of the deficit. In other areas, timely rains allowed later maturing corn products to take advantage of the water, resulting in improved performance potential over earlier corn products.

Many years of breeding, development, and local testing goes into the creation of corn products. The Channel® Brand Technical Agronomists for your area have a good understanding of performance, including plant density, and can help with product recommendations. This information coupled with an understanding of current product performance can help with selecting a corn product that has demonstrated strong yield potential over a wide range of conditions. 

Examining the yield data from corn product trials in your own geography can be helpful, but always consider the performance of products from a wide variety of environments and yield levels. This can help you to select those genetics that are consistent in their performance. Dr. Robert Nielsen of Purdue University recommends selecting corn products that consistently yield no less than 90% of the highest yield in the trial, no matter where they are grown.2 

In any “normal” season, it just makes sense to grow products that have proven themselves year over year on the lion’s share of your acres. Try new products on fields that you know are consistent with what you want to evaluate to upgrade your portfolio.

In closing, a good manager can sometimes make decisions that seem the best when looked at in hindsight. But when it comes to corn product selection, the best decisions are those based on the best data available on solid genetic performance over a range of conditions that result in a “normal” year. For additional information, please see Channel® Agronomy Advice, Maximizing Corn Yield Potential.

Derek Crompton

Technical Agronomist


1Brooks, R. 2021. 3 factors to consider before you pick hybrids for 2022. The SCOOP, Solutions For The Farmer’s Advisor.

2Nielsen, R. 2012. Corn management for extreme conditions. Corny News Network Articles. Purdue University Department of Agronomy.

Web Sites verified 9/21/21.

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ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Performance may vary, from location to location and from year to year, as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible and should consider the impacts of these conditions on the grower’s fields.

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