Q: What factors should I consider when selecting new seed varieties?
A: If you’re thinking about a new seed variety on your farm, don’t let yield be the only deciding factor.
Selecting a top yielder is important but remember to look at other agronomic factors as well.
One of the factors that should be considered is the overall disease package. With differences in disease pressures based on year and area, selecting the variety that best suits the risks will help with achieving overall yield. For example, some canola varieties have genes with sclerotinia resistance and some cereal varieties have enhanced defences against fusarium.
Selecting seed varieties with extra defence against insect pressure is also a consideration. Many cereals have added protection against wheat midge or sawfly which can affect yield and quality.
Seed varieties normally fall within a short, medium and long season zone. Selecting varieties that fit into your growing zone is important to managing risk against fall frosts and getting the harvest into the bin in time. Selecting more than one variety with different maturity ratings can be used as a harvest management technique. Early-season varieties can be combined sooner which spreads out your harvest.
Have you considered the suitability to straight cutting or swathing? Seed varieties can differ in shatter and lodging resistance. This is key in situations of delayed harvest or heavy nitrogen fertilization where lodging can be a concern.
Achieving high yields from a variety requires the consideration of all the above factors in seed decisions each year on the farm.
Brianna Lummerding, P. Ag, is a manager of agronomic services with Nutrien Ag Solutions in north-central Saskatchewan.