HEIGHT DIFFERENCES. An aerial photo of Jim Leverich’s test plot shows the height differences among his trial strips. In 2022, Leverich no-tilled 19-20 different hybrids from mainly DeKalb, Croplan, Pioneer and Dairyland Seed Co.

On-Farm Trials Identify Yield-Boosting Hybrids, Fertilizer Strategies

In the final installment of No-Till Farmer’s inaugural Conservation Ag Operator Fellowship, no-tiller Jim Leverich shares results of his 2022 corn hybrid & starter fertilizer trials.

Taking a precision approach to planting and nutrient management proves profitable for Sparta, Wis., no-tiller Jim Leverich

Leverich took hundreds of readers along in the cab in 2022 as No-Till Farmer’s Conservation Ag Operator Fellow. He farms about 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans — split 50/50 between the two crops — as well as does some custom work.

Every year, Leverich conducts hybrid and variety trials on 10-20% of his acres to find the best genetics for his environment and conditions in western Wisconsin, an area of the state with rolling hills and a variety of soil types. He relies on precision technology to find out what management improvements he can make to add value to his operation.

In this final installment of the 2022 fellowship series, Leverich reviews the data and results from his 2022 hybrid and variety trial and starter fertilizer trial.

On-Farm Trials

Leverich has been doing hybrid and variety trials for the past 20 years. He plants two field-length replications for each soil type in the trials — two in a medium-textured sandy loam soil with 2% organic matter on his property and the other two on silt and clay loams that average 3% or better organic matter.

“The reason we do that is to see how the hybrids perform in a more challenging environment vs. the heavy soil,” Leverich says. “The universities and seed companies tend to put their hybrid trials on really good land, and I think that’s a big mistake because it…

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Michaela paukner

Michaela Paukner

Michaela Paukner is the managing editor of No-Till Farmer, Strip-Till Farmer and Cover Crop Strategies. Her previous journalism experience includes working as a reporter for a legal magazine and as a producer for two Wisconsin TV news stations. She has also worked with clients across the globe as a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and as a brand manager for a Wisconsin-based boutique marketing agency. She's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

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