Onfarm Research Aids Hybrid, Variety Selection

Using precision technology and a mix of hybrids or varieties can help no-tillers improve their evaluation system and make better seed choices

Selecting the most appropriate hybrids and varieties can vastly improve profitability on your farm. But this decision can be difficult because there are so many options.

For many years, I relied on test-plot data from universities and seed companies to choose corn hybrids and soybean varieties. This worked fine until the number of choices simply grew too high.

So I came up with a system to evaluate hybrids and varieties and still integrate results from university and seed-company trials.

A Selection System

 I approach the evaluation and selection process from three angles:

  • First, I follow university trials to pick out their top-yielding hybrids and varieties;
  • Second, I go to my local seed representatives and ask them to choose hybrids and varieties they feel will perform the best on my farm;
  • Third, I use precision technology to set up replicated plots on our farm.

I normally have about 20 corn hybrids and 20 soybean varieties in our plots. In selecting hybrids, I plant three or four hybrids I’ve used on the farm in the past year, and then select 15 to 16 new hybrids from the seed companies and university test plots to evaluate.

By using top hybrids and varieties from both university and seed-company results, I get a direct comparison to the products we select from seed companies.

I also replicate my plots — usually three replications with plots on two different soil types — to take out field variability, and I keep at least three to four hybrids over…

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Jim Leverich

Jim Leverich no-tills near Sparta, Wis., and serves as an onfarm research coordinator for the University of Wisconsin.

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