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Seed Hybrid and Variety Selection

How to select the best seed for your field.

Looking ahead to next season, the decision of what type of variety to plant is approaching - it's one of the most important decisions a grower will make all year.

There are a number of different choices out there, and they all promise to deliver results. But how do you single out the best seed for you? Consider the following guidelines as you evaluate your options.

Yield: We all know that crop yield is important, but you can't choose a variety solely on reported yield numbers.

Look for information on how consistently the seed has produced high yields over a number of different locations. Just because a variety performed well in another state doesn’t guarantee the same result in your fields, as varieties and hybrids perform differently depending on their environment.

In addition, different varieties and hybrids feature different levels of resistance to pests and diseases. When choosing a variety, look at the circumstances surrounding reported high yields. For example, if a variety performed well in a disease-free environment, but offers little resistance to diseases common in your area, you should probably avoid this seed type.

Maturity: Maturity is also a factor. Choose varieties with maturity ratings appropriate for your location and operational needs. Experts also recommend considering multiple hybrids with a range of maturity dates for effectively spreading risk and widening the harvest interval.

Standability: A plant's standability is also a consideration when choosing a seed. With soybeans, for example, fertile, moist soils may lead to lodging-prone plants. In corn, good standability is especially important in regions where stalk rot is an issue or field drying is expected. The genetic makeup of a variety and the environmental circumstances are both factors that can influence lodging. Choose a seed with favorable results for your area.

Pest, disease and herbicide resistance: Always consider which resistance packages will be the best for your particular operation. Select hybrid and variety seeds with resistance to diseases that might be prevalent in your area. You can consult your Southern States Agronomy Professional or local Extension agent to determine exactly what diseases have affected other farmers close to you.

Other considerations: Never purchase a variety before reviewing the seed's performance trials. Studies have shown that hybrids that have consistently performed well over a number of seasons in different areas have a much greater chance of doing well the next year. Trial data is available from seed companies and University performance trials.

When it comes to choosing a soybean variety, doubling cropping, crop use, varietal purity and shattering resistance are all additional factors to consider.

Seed cost is important as well. If there is a more expensive variety you are considering, make sure the profit from a potential increase in yield is great enough to justify the extra price.

Researchers are developing new seeds everyday that are better and stronger than ever before. In order to maximize the profit from your hybrid or variety seed choice, you need to assess your specific situation and define what characteristics would be ideal for your farming operation. For more information on seed types, please consult For more information, consult a Southern States Agronomy Professional or your local Extension office.

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