So you’re about to make one of the most important purchases of next season — your seed. Seed companies work hard to deliver stronger, better products to savvy growers, but what do you really need to know before you make the call?
Determining the best-performing genetics for an individual farm is the most important piece of information growers can glean before making seed purchase decisions. Be sure to talk to your local seed rep for information about how specific hybrids perform in your area. Make sure to pay careful attention to key factors such as crop rotation, insect and disease resistance, maturity and harvestability.
Understand and monitor your crop rotation. Make sure you know what crop you will be seeding the following year and keep detailed records so you can tweak rotation in years ahead. Know the herbicide system of the hybrid you are using; this will allow you to place it on appropriate fields and manage weeds for the best yield possible.
Likewise, consider insect and disease control. Increasingly, certain pockets of land are emerging as high-pressure areas for anything from flea beetles and cutworms to sclerotinia, clubroot and blackleg. Understanding what genetic traits are available to you will offer good peace of mind in vulnerable times.
Make sure you know a hybrid’s days to maturity and what the yield potential is for that hybrid in your geographical area, based on soil type and environment. And ask your seed rep about the standability and harvestability of the hybrid — what you can expect in the field from certain hybrids as you get to the final stages of production.
For further information, pay close attention to plot data. Consider the number of trials, and performance consistency. Be sure to factor in the location or area and soil type, and discuss performance with your rep, so you can make the most informed decisions for your farm’s next best season.