‘Get With The System’ To Fine-Tune Seed Selection

Testing hybrids and varieties on your own farm, in multiple locations over a number of years, can help you get the best genetics and yields.

Selecting the most appropriate hybrids and varieties for your no-till farm can improve profits immensely, but this decision can be difficult because so many options are available.

The number of hybrids and varieties available has escalated to a point where many of them aren’t evaluated by universities — especially with corn, and less so with soybeans. To choose the right hybrids, come up with your own system.

Planting seed that hasn’t been tested at universities or in replicated farm trials generally unprofitable. On our farm, we use test-plot data from universities and seed companies to select hybrids for comparison. We plant seed in a number of locations, over a number of years, to gauge performance in multiple environments.

As you’ll see below, I came up with a system to evaluate hybrids and integrate the results from university and seed-company trials, and I encourage you to do that, too.

Selection System

 On my farm, our system to select and evaluate seed comes from three angles:

1 First, I follow the university trials to pick out their top-yielding hybrids and varieties. Even if I don’t plant these particular hybrids, they become a relative comparison to the ones I plant.

2 Second, I go to my local seed representatives and ask them to pick out the hybrids and varieties they feel will perform the best on my farm.

3 Third, I use my precision-farming system to help me evaluate these university and seed-company hybrids and varieties in replicated plots on our farm.


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Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

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