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SEED SENSE: Asking these additional eight questions about seed will help you identify the best new products for your farm.

Beyond yield: 8 more questions to ask about seed

How to drill deeper into the data when selecting new hybrids and varieties to plant in 2018.

“What did it yield?” is probably the first question you ask when selecting seed products. After all, yield is king. But Rob Wentz, Peterson Farms Seeds, suggests drilling deeper and asking a lot more questions, including these four:

1) Can you tell me about Hybrid X and its resistance to foliar and stalk disease? “If you’re like a lot of corn growers, Goss’ wilt and anthracnose leaf blight and stalk have become more prevalent in recent years. These are both disastrous post-pollination yield robbers, but some hybrids are far more resistant than others. Discussing this specific topic can be tremendously important to selecting the correct hybrid,” he says.

2) How does Variety X respond to an increase or decrease in planted population, and how might a 94% germ rate affect my stand? “Just when you think you know the right population for a specific field, it might be time to question your standard as soybean varieties continue to improve in yield potential. It’s also a helpful question due to the recent prevalence of white mold. If you saw those ugly black sclerotia among your soybeans in the hopper this fall, it is a must-have discussion.”

3) Can you describe the emergence and vigor ratings of Hybrid X? “This seems to be a topic that’s discussed only after a farmer finds an issue. Usually, the problem lies in uncooperative weather or seed that has been “mudded in”, but not always. Definitive and potentially yield-affecting differences exist among different hybrids. With the volatility we experience in the South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota planting season, it is a great question to ask.”

4) What can I expect when I move from a Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean program to a LibertyLink or RR2 Xtend program? “Not only is this discussion timely, but in the case of Xtend and the use of dicamba, it’s still changing in terms of application regulations. It is also important to discuss because of its potential for impact, not only on your fields but on your neighbors’ fields as well.”

You can read more advice from Wentz and other Peterson Farms Seed specialists at

More tips from Legend Seeds
Sean McGraw, an agronomist with Legend Seeds, DeSmet, S.D., has four more questions he’d recommend asking about seed. They include:

5) How well does it stand? The hybrid or variety should match your ability to harvest the crop in a timely manner. The longer you need to leave it in the field, the stronger the stalks need to be, McGraw says.

6) How does it do in no-till? “You’ll be dealing with more cool, wet soil conditions,” he says. “Getting the crop off to a quick and uniform start is crucial to its performance.”

7) How well does the hybrid or variety fit the field? Some fields have the same problem year after year. Seed varieties need to be matched to the field to counter those conditions, McGraw says. Legend Seeds has a program called Farmocology to do just that.

8) What’s the refuge requirement? Seed with different traits may require different refuges. Before you buy seed, it’s important to understand what you have to do follow the law.

To read more advice and tips from McGraw and other Legend Seeds agronomists, visit

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