Variety selection in cereals, like every crop in your rotation, is one of your first and most important management decisions. Each variety is unique, as are the growing conditions on your farm. A variety’s performance is going to vary across environments due to many factors, including soil type, precipitation, fertility, temperature, planting date, pest infestations, and crop protection choices.
Choose varieties that have the attributes you need (yield, disease tolerance, standability, etc.), then research those varieties to see which ones are most likely to deliver in your situation. Your research shouldn’t begin and end with looking at seed guides. In most cases, that data will be averages from a number of locations and years, which may not reflect how a variety will perform on your farm.
It’s important that you have conversations with your seed provider or even the breeding organization and ask questions specific to a variety and your conditions to understand the best fit in your operation.
There are many inherent benefits to using certified seed (including yield). One not to overlook is that if you’re planting certified seed, you’ve got an opportunity every year to test new varieties. If you’re farm saving seed, you may be missing the opportunity to find the best varieties for your farm and to capture the genetic gains in agronomics and pest tolerance that come with the latest varieties.
This agronomy tip is brought to you by Bryan Ulmer, Product Evaluation Scientist, Cereals, with Syngenta Canada Inc.