Every farmer understands the critical role of seed selection for high crop yields. While genetic potential is important, it’s equally vital to evaluate seed performance within a specific environment to determine where to plant hybrids and varieties.
One method to gain insights into seed genetic performance is to closely observe each field during harvest. Harvest season can provide invaluable information to enhance the seed selection process and optimize variety and hybrid choices for the upcoming year. This can ultimately increase productivity and profitability.
Top tips for evaluating performance and seed selection success
- Evaluate standability: Start by examining each field to ensure the variety or hybrid selection not only tolerated the soils and nutrient applications during the growing season, but also excelled from planting to harvest. Remember, Mother Nature can throw curveballs. But that doesn’t mean a specific seed is out of place.
- For corn, compare stalks and ears at black layer: Hybrid consistency is key. Stalk diameters should be uniform, and ears should have the same number of rows and kernels in a row. The more uniformity, the better the prospect for yield. Kernel dent is another growth indicator. While it can vary with genetics, the smaller the dent, the more the hybrid managed to pack into each kernel.
- For soybeans, compare performance and specific farm needs: When selecting a soybean variety for next year, it’s crucial to recognize that what performs well in test plots or neighbors’ fields may not be the ideal choice somewhere else. Some performance comparisons are based on fertile, well-drained soils, which may not reflect the stress tolerance required for less productive, poorly drained or drought-prone soils.
Each soybean variety has its own yield potential. So it’s key to find the one that aligns best with the unique farming circumstances. Factors like farming style, fertility, soil characteristics (temperature and moisture levels) and management practices (i.e. cover or double cropping, crop rotation and tillage practices) all play a role.
- Note insect or disease damage: Are there any signs of insect or disease damage? If so, make sure to select seeds with the appropriate traits or disease tolerance.
- Schedule a ride-along: When it’s time for the combine to roll, consider inviting an AgriGold agronomist to ride along. While you’re focused on monitoring and equipment adjustments, they can spot performance issues you might overlook.
Gather data and make informed decisions
After collecting data from each hybrid or variety, consult with experts and review available resources to make final seed selection decisions. AgriGold offers a wealth of information, including results from on-farm field trials, placement recommendations and performance statistics. Additionally, digital tools like Climate FieldView™ and Advantage Acre® can help account for weather and other environmental factors in the planning process.
Hybrid and variety performance will be different each growing season. That’s why it’s important to use multi-year data to select hybrids, plant multiple hybrids across the farm with different genetic backgrounds, and spread out planting dates and hybrid relative maturities to minimize risk.
The bottom line
Harvesting isn’t just about reaping what’s been sown. It’s an invaluable opportunity to assess seed selection choices and make informed decisions for the future. With tips from the AgriGold agronomy team and insights from harvest time, the seed selection process can be much easier — and crop yields will benefit.