Better Farming Focus on Corn: Lots of seed choices for 2008, none of them easy

The proliferation of double-and triple-stacked genetic traits, many of them proprietary,is just one hurdle to be leaped by seed corn buyers this year. Growers still have to look at their market they are selling into. Should they be buying “Market Choice” hybrids, “Casco Approved” hybrids, or something that has no designation at all in order to keep their marketing choices open?

Some hybrids in the Better Farming chart are designated as “Casco Approved.” This signals to seed buyers that, even though hybrids are genetically enhanced, they are acceptable to that industrial user. But don’t expect to see this designation elsewhere.

It has been removed from hybrids listed on the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) website, says executive director Bill Leask.

The CA designation was causing some confusion with “Market Choice,” Leask says. The seed trade uses that to designate a corn hybrid with a genetic characteristic that has not been approved in Europe.

Crop from a seed designated “Market Choice” should be fed on the farm or channeled towards elevators selling to domestic use, not to elevators targeting markets in Europe.
Furthermore, with ethanol plants coming on stream in Ontario, Casco may no longer be the predominate industrial processor and other users may have their own list of approved hybrids, Leask says.

The list of “Market Choice” hybrids changes periodically and the CSTA updates the list regularly on its website. A list of all corn hybrids available to farmers can be found at

Genetics companies have provided the descriptions for their hybrids in the Better Farming corn chart.

A more objective evaluation for many hybrids can be found on Ontario Corn Committee listings linked to the website of the Ontario Corn Producers Association. BF


Better Farming February 2008