Visual characteristics of BMR hybrids include a darker stalk and leaf mid-rib.

The brown mid-rib (BMR) corn silage market is still nowhere close to that of conventional silage corn, but hybrid offerings continue to expand along with the number of acres planted. The BMR trait is a naturally occurring, recessive mutant gene that reduces the amount of lignin in the stalk. The result is a corn plant that has consistently higher fiber digestibility than its normal hybrid counterparts. The improvement in digestibility has generally resulted in improved dry matter intake and animal performance.

The challenge for plant breeders has always been to meet the agronomic standards of top-end normal hybrids in terms of yield, disease resistance and standability. Starch content is somewhat lower for BMR hybrids as well. Most people would agree that the agronomic gap has still not been closed, but plant breeders continue to work toward that goal. If high-quality corn silage is the primary consideration, BMR hybrids generally separate themselves from the pack.

For 2016, both Mycogen Seeds and DuPont Pioneer will give silage producers more options in their respective BMR lineups.

Mycogen Seeds

Four new hybrids are being introduced by Mycogen Seeds to bring their current lineup to 15 BMR choices ranging from 92 to 116 day relative maturity (RM). The new hybrids will no longer carry the “F2F” nomenclature; all are glyphosate resistant and contain trait protection for below and above ground insects.

BMR97B34 is a 97 RM hybrid that performs best at moderate plant densities in soils with adequate water-holding capacity. It offers good tolerance to northern corn leaf blight and is ranked high for standability.

Described as widely adapted from east to west, BMR10B27 RA offers high tonnage with agronomics that support moderate to moderate-high plant densities; it’s recommended that it be planted in soils with good water-holding capacity. The 110 RM hybrid comes with Dow AgroSciences’ Refuge Advanced and does not require a separate refuge be planted.

Tall plant stature and excellent fiber digestibility are features of BMR12B75. This 112 RM hybrid offers consistent yield in fields with variable soil types, though it is not recommended for planting in soils with poor drainage. Medium planting rates are suggested.

The longest maturity new BMR corn being offered by Mycogen Seeds is BMR14B96, a 114 RM hybrid with medium height and good standability. It’s described as having high tonnage with improved foliar leaf disease resistance. Strong root and stalk characteristics are also traits associated with this hybrid.

DuPont Pioneer

DuPont Pioneer entered into the BMR market in 2011 and now offers six different hybrid choices ranging from 102 to 114 RM. The two new options for 2016 are P0677AMX and P1449AMX; both come with integrated refuge (AcreMax Xtra), above and below ground insect protection, and glyphosate resistance.

Good emergence qualities characterize P0677AMX, the new 106 RM hybrid from DuPont Pioneer. It features excellent yield and forage quality characteristics and is suitable for planting following a previous corn crop where high residue conditions exist.

The company’s second new offering, P1449AMX, builds off of the current P1449XR version by offering an integrated refuge option. This hybrid touts high starch content, fiber digestibility and tonnage potential. Plant at medium to high densities for maximum starch and yield returns. This hybrid couples a tall plant height with very good root strength.

This article appeared in the November 2015 issue of Hay & Forage Grower on page 23.

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