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When selecting seed, consider how a variety, hybrid yields last
Ohio Farm News
By Steve Bartels

It is time to decide which varieties or hybrids to plant in your fields next year. When making these decisions, how a variety or hybrid yields should be one of the last points to consider in the process. We did not say that it should not be considered at all, but rather, it should be fairly far down on the list.

The first questions that we feel you should ask are, “What problems have occurred in this field? Does this field to be planted to soybeans have a history of Phytophthora, soybean cyst nematode, brown stem rot, Sclerotinia, and/or seedling replant problems? Or does this corn field have a history of seedling replant problems, gray leaf spot or northern corn leaf blight?”

All of these disease problems can occur in any given year - what limits them is the environment. So the best and most cost effective means to manage these diseases is to have a resistant variety already in the field when that disease’s favorable environment develops.

For corn, northern corn leaf blight has moved into the state, although it was a latecomer during 2005. Choosing corn hybrids with resistance to this pathogen is now essential.

According to Jim Beuerlein, Ohio State University Extension specialist, most soybean varieties have genetic yield potentials well over 100 bushels per acre. A variety’s adaptability to the environment and production system where it will be used sets the yield potential of the production system. A variety’s performance in a previously conducted yield trial is a measure of its performance in that particular environment and production system and does not assure satisfactory performance under a different set of conditions.

It is best to select varieties with characteristics that will help them perform well in the cultural system and environment to be used rather than on their yield record alone. For example, if excessive growth and lodging are problems, then select varieties that are medium to short in height with good standability. For fields where there is reduced vegetative growth, select later maturing varieties that grow tall.

The selection of medium or small seed when using a grain drill will improve metering and stand uniformity. Maturity information should be used to select varieties that mature at different times to allow for timely harvest and high test weights.

There are more than 600 different soybean varieties marketed to Ohio soybean producers of which almost 200 are entered into the Ohio Soybean Perform-ance Trials by various seed companies. Most seed companies enter their “top-of-the-line” varieties in this trial but some enter none.

Selecting a variety that was entered in this trial almost guarantees a producer that his selection is in the top third of all varieties available.

Published in the January 18, 2006 issue of Farm World.

1/18/2006