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Posted 29 September 2015. PMN Crop News.

Seed-Selection Resources to Help Farmers Maximize Yield Potential, Profits

Source: United Soybean Board Press Release.

Chesterfield, Missouri (September 15, 2015)--The time to start making soybean variety selections for 2016 is right around the corner. Picking the right varieties is a crucial step on the way to raising high-yielding soybeans.


The importance of variety selection cannot be understated, according to Trent Irby, Ph.D., extension soybean specialist at Mississippi State University.

“One could argue that variety selection is the most important management decision that a producer will make each year,” says Irby. “If a variety is planted in the wrong situation, the overall yield potential may be reduced.”

Greg Greving, a United Soybean Board director from Chapman, Nebraska, says it’s not hard to understand the importance of picking varieties that are best suited to his fields.

“You need to start with good seed if you expect to make a good crop,” says Greving. “We look closely at as much data as we can to find varieties that fit our ground and conditions.”

Fortunately, there are many resources available to farmers to help make the seed-selection process easier. Irby advises farmers to check their local university variety-testing programs for results and to try and gather as much information as they can before determining which varieties they will purchase. He says variety-demonstration programs can also be valuable to farmers for varietal assessment.

“Variety trial data are a great tool that can be used to see how some of the newer varieties stack up compared to varieties that may have become a standard in a particular region or production system,” Irby says.

Field days provide farmers with opportunities to see varieties firsthand and observe growth habits and the overall look of the plant. While field days can be useful, Irby cautions that variety-selection decisions should be based on information collected from multiple locations or resources in addition to what may be observed at a field day.

Like most farmers, Greving looks to yield first when selecting varieties, but he knows that cannot be the sole basis for variety selection.

“Yield is always important, but we have other criteria that factor in to our decisions,” Greving says. “We have varying types of ground and soils that we must match up with varieties that fit best. We also look at the oil and protein content to make sure we’re growing a quality product.”

Sometimes farmers may need to use more specific factors, such as disease and herbicide packages, when selecting varieties. Resistance to specific races of soybean cyst nematode, Phytophthora root rot or other diseases may be essential to achieving high yield in a particular field.

“Depending on the issue, be it disease pressure or nematode pests, variety selection is an excellent starting point for managing those issues,” Irby says.

Since the varieties selected for planting will directly affect a farmer’s yield potential and profits, the process should not be rushed. There are many third-party resources and data available from seed companies. Farmers are encouraged to review as much reliable data as possible before making final decisions.