Adam Spelhaug, agronomist with Peterson Farms Seed, Prosper, N.D, has some straight forward advice on how to be smart about selecting the best seed for your farm.
"I cannot emphasize enough that it is imperative to evaluate multiple year data from numerous locations," he says. "When I compare two products, it is ideal to have more than 10 head-to-head comparisons from at least two years. This provides the best indication of how genetics may differ among varieties. Of course, some varieties perform better on certain types of ground due to agronomic traits (phytophthora, wet feet tolerance, soybean cyst nematode, iron deficiency chlorosis, IDC, salt tolerance), but I sort out those differences during the summer while walking strip plots and replicated test locations."
However, plot data isn't everything.
"We have hybrids that may never win a plot but perform exceptionally well across a field, leading to higher field averages. And higher yield is where you get paid –- more total bushels produced in your fields, not the best number in a strip plot," he says.
No doubt, you will be approached by a seed salesman this winter who will show you how well a specific product performed in a single plot.
"Be sure you question its performance in multiple locations (even if those locations aren't close to home). What fields did the salesman see it in last year? In what conditions did it perform best, and where did it struggle," Peterson advises.
"Place products that perform well over multiple years on the majority of your acres," he says "Then, take chances with newer genetics to 'knock out a home run' on your highly productive ground. With the high degree of environmental variability our region experiences, this is a good strategy to adopt for higher yields across your farm."
Source: Peterson Farms Seed