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How two hybrids compared in the Crop Watch field

How two hybrids compared in the Crop Watch field
Crop watch 2015: Two different hybrids grew side-by-side on variable soils in the crop watch field.

We reported the final dry yield of the 2015 Crop Watch field as 194.1 bushels per acre. That was two hybrids averaged together in an 80 acre field with soils going from very productive to average across the field. The hybrids were planted side-by-side, 24 rows to a block, all across the field.

Crop Watch 10/26: Finally! Yield results for the 2015 Crop Watch field

When yield estimates were taken in August, there were obvious differences. Dave Nanda, crops consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc., says that's partially because Hybrid A, on the left below, is a fixed-ear type hybrid, and hybrid B, on the right, is a flex-ear hybrid.

Crop watch 2015: Two different hybrids grew side-by-side on variable soils in the crop watch field.

As conditions change, for better or worse, hybrid B tends to change ear size, for better or worse. When broken in two, kernel depth was also deeper on hybrid B.

The farmer noticed that hybrid B did not do as well on more average soils in the field. Moisture tended to be more inconsistent on those parts of the field for that hybrid as well. It was apparent to him that it didn't stand stress as well growing on average soils. Stresses included too much rain in June and July, and disease and dry weather later in the season.

According to the yield monitor, when the whole field was averaged, hybrid A yielded 195.2 bushels per acre, and hybrid B yielded 193 bushels per acre. In terms of any statistics you could imagine, that's virtually a dead heat.

In other words, there wouldn't be enough difference to predict which hybrid would do better planted side-by-side again next year. A difference that small could be caused by other factors that have nothing to do with actual genetic potential of the hybrids.

Call it a tie! A two-bushel yield advantage across the entire field for hybrid A, on left, vs hybrid B, on right, is virtually dead even if you wanted to predict which hybrid would do better next time.

Crop Watch 10/23: Near end of harvest brings back the legend of the last round

However, hybrid B was a full moisture point wetter than hybrid A. the field was harvested at two times several days apart. When harvested earlier at higher moisture content, moisture readings for hybrid B were more erratic compared to hybrid A.

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