Yields surprising for Indiana variety trials, despite challenges
Crop growers now have access to the 2008 variety trial yield results for corn and soybean varieties tested in Indiana.
“As with a lot of people, this year we had challenges, but the yields are much better than anticipated,” said Phil DeVillez, director of Purdue’s Crop Performance Program.
DeVillez and his team tested 240 corn hybrids at 12 sites and about 200 soybean hybrids at nine sites.
Yield data is available at the Purdue Crop Performance Program Web site, http://www.agry.purdue.edu/pcpp/. The variety trial results are free for farmers and it’s unbiased, independent data.
“The best thing a grower can do when contemplating varieties, is to compare this year’s data to last year’s data,” he said. “Always look at multi-year data.
“Something that was on top last year could be in the middle of the pack or even on the bottom this year, in terms of performance. It all depends on the planting date, growing season and the rain patterns.”
DeVillez said we’ve had two extremely different years and if a variety is at the top in terms of performance both last year and this year, then you can feel confident about it being a good variety for the area.”
For additional information and questions about how to interpret the data, contact DeVillez at (765) 583-1406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We learned that good yields can still be achieved with late planting,” he said. “We replanted three of our locations (Butlerville, Shelburn and Vincennes) and probably should have replanted a fourth, we just didn’t have enough time.
“We planted our plot here in West Lafayette May 29, which is a good month behind normal, so we didn’t expect yields to be very good on that plot. Our last planting date was June 12.”
DeVillez said the plot at the Purdue Agronomy Farm yielded more than 200 bushels of corn an acre. He attributes the surprisingly good yields to September’s warm weather, as well as improved genetics and the insect resistance they’ve been bred with.
“If you look back, September was really warm and that helped us catch up in terms of growing degree days,” he explained. “Because the crop was planted late and was still maturing, it worked out quite well, other than putting us behind for harvest.
“We didn’t start harvest until Oct. 1. Typically, we start sometime during the first week of September.”
DeVillez said the data is very representative of what we saw in the state this year.
This also was the first year for the Farmer Nominated Variety Program, which is a partnership between the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Purdue Agronomy. This year, 16 soybean varieties were entered into the trials and next year DeVillez hopes to see that number grow. The program, designed to ensure producers have an objective source of information about the plant health and yield characteristics of individual soybean varieties, is funded by checkoff dollars.
“It basically allows farmers to have input as to what varieties will be tested,” DeVillez said. “If you have a favorite variety that’s not included in the program because the company doesn’t participate or chooses not to put it in the test, then you can nominate it.”
It gives farmers a direct voice so they can see how a particular variety stacks up against other varieties in the program