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No Seed Company Wins Every Corn Hybrid Plot

No Seed Company Wins Every Corn Hybrid Plot
Seedsmen are realistic about how products perform in test plots.

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.

In field teaching: Ben Alyea, left, discusses test wright with a Northeastern Wayne FFA member during test plot harvest.

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.

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