by Luke Daninger

As harvest nears to an end, growers will begin to make seed decisions for the upcoming season.  A few things to consider this time of the year is are as follows:

How good is the data that I am looking at?

Does the hybrid I am committing to purchase fit the field I am putting it in and my management style?

Let’s start with the data end of things.  Programs like AYS and research data that comes from the Answer Plot are great resources to utilize when sorting through hybrid performance.  AYS helps sort through hybrid performance on your own farm and analyzes yields by what factors are contributing to it as well such as potassium levels, planting speed, soil type, etc.  Pairing your farm’s information with data from replicated research from the Answer Plots in our area gives a great tool in making sure you choose hybrids that will give you the best probability of success for next season.  Keep in mind, when looking at data pay attention to the LSD (least significant difference).  The smaller the LSD the better as it measures the quality of the data.  For instance, if the top hybrid comes in at 225 bu/ac and the 7th hybrid in a plot comes in at 219 bu/ac, and the LSD is 7 bu/ac, these two hybrids are the same statistically speaking.  However, if the LSD comes in at 2.5 bu/ac, you know that these two hybrids are actually different and the first hybrid is significantly better than the 7th hybrid.

Now when we get to management practices, be sure to keep in mind where you are placing hybrids and how you plan to manage them.  Scores such as each hybrid’s response to population, nitrogen, fungicide and soil type provide bushels in return with proper management and help insure a positive ROI.  Let’s look at an example.  One hybrid, Croplan 5146, goes over variable ground, has a low RTN score and a moderate RTP score.  We know that this hybrid can go on the field that is 7 miles away, we most likely won’t need to side dress or apply additional nitrogen to it, and we can keep populations at a normal rate to optimize yields.  We likely won’t see an economic response by pushing extra nitrogen or population to it.  Conversely, a hybrid like 3899 has a high RTN score, high RTP score and likes good ground.  We know that this hybrid will give us a positive ROI on a side dress application and pushing population.  In Answer Plots this year, this provided an additional 28-52 bu/ac depending on the plot.  Conversely, when the same treatments were applied to 5146, they provided between -10 to + 8 bu/ac.   This doesn’t make one hybrid bad and the other good, it simply means that we need to make sure we manage each hybrid we purchase carefully to optimize the returns from them.

Consult with your local agronomist to help with choosing and placing hybrids this season on your farm as they have the data talked about in the article for the DeKalb, Croplan, NK and Mycogen lineups.