Hybrid selection is one of the most important decisions farmers can make in order to improve yields. Currently there are dozens of hybrids for growers to choose from. The purpose of the Corn Hybrid Testing program at NDSU is to provide a source of unbiased information on the performance of many of the currently available corn hybrids. In order to provide the most reliable data, the program uses rigorous experimental designs and plants experiments in multiple locations. Other research has shown that growers that use the performance data from multiple locations are more likely to pick hybrids that will do relatively better in subsequent seasons. This program strives to provide this information.

The 2018 growing season represents the fifth season of our “revised” corn hybrid testing program. As in past years, experiments were established in three locations in each of the three production zones (northern, central and southern) within North Dakota. We also included one location in Minnesota in the northern zone for a total of 10 trials. The trials include both early and late maturing entries for the zone entered, but are separated in reporting so that early hybrids are not competing directly with later hybrids that may naturally have greater yield potential. This season, each zone had about 50 unique hybrids (including farmer provided checks). The total number of hybrids tested (142) is down from the 246 tested in 2017.  One site within each zone also includes conventional hybrids (four in the northern zone, ten in the central zone and six in the southern zone) in order to provide information to those that wish to revert to non-GMO hybrids.

Trials were planted between May 4th and May 14th in 2018. Generally, conditions have been very favorable for corn development this year. We did encounter some phosphorus deficiency problems early in the season at a site where the trial was planted after sugarbeets (fallow syndrome). Green snap and hail damage has been observed in at least three locations and notes on the susceptibility of hybrids to this problem have been taken. Additionally, Goss’s Wilt has been observed in a few locations.

Results for 2017 were statistically analyzed and sent to the companies, cooperators and extension centers within a few working days of the harvest, and published in both .pdf format and as an MS Excel spreadsheet at the corn hybrid testing website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/cornhybridtesting) two weeks later.  Growers and seed companies can also access aerial photographs and a summary description of each site for the season along with all of the entry information.  Entry information is updated each January.  Data from this program, along with the results from corn hybrid trials conducted by Research and Extension Centers throughout the state were compiled and published by the NDSU Extension Service as the North Dakota Corn Hybrid Trial Results for 2017 (A793-17). This publication is available online and as a NDSU Extension Service publication. Data from the 2018 season will be made available in a similar manner.