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No Seed Company Wins Every Corn Hybrid PlotNo Seed Company Wins Every Corn Hybrid Plot

Seedsmen are realistic about how products perform in test plots.

Tom Bechman 1

November 27, 2013

2 Min Read

Ben Alyea, Wayne County, is a seed rep for Seed Consultants, Inc. The founder of the company, Chris Jeffries, grew up in Wayne County. The company is located in Washington Courthouse, Ohio.

Alyea had hybrids in several plots this fall. Asked at one plot if he expected his hybrids would win, he offered a candid answer.

"We have six entries in this plot," he says. "To think they are all going to place at the top would be asking a lot."

What he hopes is that they are consistently near the top, not necessarily at the top every time. With the amount of good genetics out there and companies in the market, to think one company will dominate a plot is likely not realistic.


Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., says the best way to look at plot data is to pick out plots that are conducted properly, and then look for hybrids that consistently do well. That doesn't mean they win the plot every time. It means they are somewhere amongst the top tier of hybrids every time.

Nanda prefers replicated plots, such as those from universities. When looking at that data, look for the scientific jargon that tells you whether one hybrid is significantly better beyond reasonable doubt than another. Often there are several hybrids in a top group that aren't different from one another. That's where you want to go looking for hybrids, he says.

You also want plots from multiple locations so you know the hybrid can hold up in different environments. And if possible, you want to see test plots results from multiple years. Even though hybrids are turning over quickly, good hybrids are around long enough to be in plots for three or more years. That gives you a good idea of what they can do in different environments, Nanda concludes.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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