No Need To Be “Iffy” About Hybrid Selection

I hope you were able to attend the National No-Tillage Conference and pick up a lot of new ideas for your farm. The trick is to pick out the high-quality ideas that will work in your system.

Sometimes I get so many ideas it’s hard to implement them. That’s why I focus on doing the simple things correctly.

Let’s talk about corn hybrid selection, one of the most important things you do each year. It’s a difficult task without good information. For years, I struggled with this decision because I didn’t have enough good information about how the hybrids would perform on my farm with my management system.

Thus, we started planting a no-till test plot to see how well we did selecting last year’s hybrids and to identify new hybrids that should replace our old standby hybrids. This has improved our hybrid selection dramatically and reduced our drought risk.

No Untouchables

We typically no-till three hybrids each year. We usually replace one of the three with a new hybrid that we have tested in our plots for 1 year and preferably 2 years to make sure it will perform in a variety of soil and climate conditions.

We look at university and seed company plot information to develop a list of hybrids for our corn plot. This year, we planted 26 hybrids in our replicated test plot. We randomize and replicate our plot three times to make sure our results are valid.

If you don’t believe the need for…

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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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