September 26, 2021

Bayer wants to make short corn ‘PAY’

DECATUR, Ill. — Short-stature corn could pay off in more ways than one for growers.

“We are really excited about short corn,” said Travis Coffman, traits marketing manager for corn and regional crops for Bayer Crop Science.

Short corn, or short-stature corn, is in development at Bayer Crop Science. The corn plant is bred to be shorter and sturdier, thus being more able and likely to withstand strong wind events than taller corn plants.

Coffman said short-stature corn provides PAY — Protection, access and yield.

“Protection that wind damage that growers are seeing this year and that they saw last year with the derecho; access — you’ve got all-season access with the short corn with the current equipment; yield — yield potential at the end of the year,” said Coffman at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur.

Coffman said short corn is bred to withstand high wind events better than taller hybrids.

“It’s not derecho-proof by any means, but it will definitely help in those greensnap and lodging scenarios,” he said.

The access offered by short corn will be available throughout the growing season, including late-season applications.

“If growers need to get in there, from a fungicide standpoint, nitrogen, insecticide, you name it, they have that access,” Coffman said.

Coffman said growers will manage short corn similarly to the current taller varieties and should notice few differences.

“Ear height is going to be a little shorter, the corn plant is going to be a little shorter, but at the end of the day, they are going to manage short corn very similarly to what they do in their standard corn today,” he said.

With more extreme wind events, such as the derecho that swept across the Midwest, from Nebraska to Indiana, in August 2020, causing crop damage and losses, Coffman said the short-stature corn will help growers gain an edge.

“I don’t want to say it is derecho-proof because nothing is. We saw grain bins go down. But in our trials so far, we’ve seen that it has been able to withstand a little bit over 50 mile per hour winds in certain scenarios. It’s another option when those wind storms do happen,” he said.

Coffman said a limited rollout in 2023 is expected.

“That will probably be in the Corn Belt, probably around the RM 100 to 110 in 2023, but we will look to expand that as quickly as we can,” he said.

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor