Think barley offers optimal forage production? Take a closer look at PRIDE Seeds’ corn
As seen in Beef Illustrated March 2022 issue
With land prices increasing, maximizing productivity from every acre is more critical than ever. Impressive yield - paired with high palatability, digestibility and flexibility - are top reasons Western Canadian farmers are increasing reliance on a grain and silage alternative: corn. PRIDE Seeds offers corn hybrids designed exclusively for Western Canada’s shorter growing season. Best of all, these top performance hybrids are tailor made for varying end uses, allowing producers to choose best-in-class silage productivity with ultimate harvest yield and feeding flexibility.
“Corn allows you to do big things,” says Sara Meidlinger, Market Development Agronomist (MDA) with PRIDE Seeds. “Many Alberta and Saskatchewan cow-calf producers say they can almost double their herd size once they incorporate grazing corn in their operation because there’s so much more feed available. Yes, the upfront costs of corn are higher than barley. But, the yield increase you gain per acre from our hybrids makes corn an investment worth making. The most common comment I hear from Western Canadian farmers who have chosen corn over barley in the past handful of years is that it completely changed their operation for the better.”
PRIDE Seeds offers two distinct types of hybrid corn for silage to Western Canadian farmers.
The first are called Effective Dual Purpose (EDP) hybrids: red-cobbed, dent-kernel corn hybrids that can be harvested as either grain or silage depending on the producer’s operational needs and the growing season. Top performing EDP options include A3993G2 RIB (2050 CHU), A4646G2 RIB (2300 CHU) and A4939G2 RIB (2400 CHU).
Featuring consistently high energy and high silage quality, EDP hybrids offer maximum flexibility. These EDP hybrids allows a producer to adjust end-use plans to suit weather uncertainty, market fluctuations, and changing operational needs, says Meidlinger.
“If it was a really great silage year, you have the option to leave some crop in the field to harvest as grain corn. If yields weren’t quite what you were expecting or maybe your barley crop fell a little short, you can take some of what you originally planned as grain corn and use it for silage instead, and still get that high energy and high-quality product.”
Keep in mind, however, that the enhanced flexibility brings with it a slightly shorter harvest window (to better suit grain corn’s quick dry-down). And, as EDP hybrids focus on both grain and silage potential, EDP hybrids don’t produce quite as much plant biomass yield as PRIDE Seeds’ silage-specific hybrids.
“Most corn hybrids on the market were originally bred for grain. Companies – PRIDE Seeds included – seek out the grain hybrids with the best silage characteristics to sell as dual purpose. These hybrids have come a long way in silage quality: they yield well, have good digestibility, and they offer value in their end-use flexibility. But, they come from grain corn genetics. If your one and only goal is silage, you really need genetics that match that goal,” says Meidlinger.
Enter Effective Digestible Fibre (EDF) hybrids: the only hybrids available on the market today from PRIDE Seeds that are intentionally and specifically bred for silage and grazing over grain production. Available exclusively from PRIDE Seeds, EDF hybrids offer a large plant structure, high digestibility, and excellent palatability, which together combine to maximize feed volume and efficiency.
“Our silage-specific hybrids are unique in almost every way. Compared to grain corn, they have a different kernel structure: they’re a dent-flint combination rather than just a dent kernel. They have a different plant shape: they’re bigger and leafier. They have longer stay-green, which gives them a much wider harvest window. They’re purpose-built to suit a silage producer’s priorities,” says Meidlinger.
PRIDE Seeds offers three top-performance, white-cobbed EDF hybrids suitable for production in Western Canada: AS1017 RR EDF (which requires 2025-2250 CHU), AS1027 RR EDF (2250-2425 CHU) and AS1047 RR EDF (2300-2475 CHU).
“AS1047RR EDF was the hybrid that put us on the map in Western Canada. It’s the hybrid that will win a tonnage yield trial nearly every time. Once we became established in Feedlot Alley with that product, we’ve been able to start servicing more producers’ needs by placing additional hybrid products where they fit best across Western Canada,” says Meidlinger.
Since barley is currently most growers’ go-to grazing and silage crop in Western Canada, how does silage corn compare?
In terms of feed value, barley silage offers higher crude protein value and higher mineral content, whereas corn silage offers higher starch levels and exceptional palatability. Corn’s most important advantage is yield. PRIDE Seeds’ corn silage can yield as much as 50% more than barley silage.
While it’s still true that corn is more susceptible to drought than barley, PRIDE Seeds’ corn hybrids require less water than corn hybrids of the past due to the genetic improvements and breeding program efforts. And, though corn tends to require more heat (CHU) than barley, PRIDE Seed’s Western Canada-specific hybrids have a shorter season option, thanks to PRIDE Seeds’ ongoing investment in early maturity product research.
“Making a decision between corn and barley really depends on your goals for your operation. Corn is definitely worth considering now,” says Meidlinger.
The Bolduc family, cow-calf producers from Stavely, Alberta, agrees:
The Bolducs have been raising purebred livestock since the turn of the century. What started as a shorthorn operation in the early 1940s developed into Cudlobe Angus in 1967 when Dyce purchased his first three Angus cows. In the past 15 years, Cudlobe Angus has kept to their roots but expanded their outlook, always prioritizing the quality of cattle under the hide. As Canada’s number one carcass herd, the Bolduc family says corn silage has allowed them to meet consumers’ demands through herd expansion and improved management of their cattle.
PRIDE Seeds is a Canadian company that offers customers personalized care and boasts access to global research and state-of-the-art breeding technology through its parent company, AgReliant Genetics. PRIDE Seeds’ single-minded and exclusive focus is hybrid development, specifically corn hybrids and soybean varieties. Because PRIDE Seeds doesn’t produce seed treatments or proprietary traits, it has the flexibility to choose among traits and seed treatments provided from multiple companies to give the grower what they need.
“We can select the best seed treatment option from different suppliers to combine with the best traits available on the market today. We can mix and match much more than companies that are tied to using only their own options, producing a better end product,” says Meidlinger.
PRIDE Seeds’ EDF and EDP hybrids are both sold under the PRIDE Total Ration Solutions (TRS) System. The TRS System identifies top-performance hybrids, going beyond appearance in the field to ensure the hybrids deliver what matters most at harvest: yield, energy, digestibility, palatability, and overall nutritional value.
All PRIDE Seeds’ EDF and EDP hybrids are distributed across Western Canada by CANTERRA Seeds.
“We really appreciate working with CANTERRA Seeds’ team because CANTERRA is as committed as we are to Western Canadian farmers,” says Meidlinger. “One of the most important components of effective crop management is seed selection: choosing the right hybrids to suit your specific operation and your unique goals. Call us: if you tell us your priorities, we’ll find you a hybrid to make those priorities happen.”