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Variety Selection – Is Newer Better
Are The newest latest varieties worth running out to jump on immediately? Not always. Older established varieties have a track record of years of broadacre performance and reliability data to back them. In addition, they usually are cheaper as the royalty sliding scale decreases to the breeder, which translates to cheaper seed for you. When a new variety comes out, if it had a great year in testing will rank highest in yield, which is what most producers look at initially. After all, we get paid based on that metric so it makes sense to look there first.
Keep in mind there are other factors at play with new variety release hype. Politics of seed companies, fulfilling contract obligations to the plant breeder regarding royalties, advertising, meeting acreage obligations to end users like maltsters, and so on. There are a lot of dynamics at play when we see the results of the most recent Seed.ab.ca seed guide come out. In my 35 years of pedigreed seed production, I have watched this many times over, and with new varieties being released at an unprecedented rate that it is virtually impossible for a farmer to know which is correct for their farm. My advice to our clients is this:
- Always be looking for the new varieties that will work on your farm that have at least 3 characteristics of benefit compared to what you are currently using. For example: Yield, lodging resistance, and days to maturity could be 3 parameters you set.
- Keep in mind the yield data is PLOT REPLICATED. There is a huge difference in a broadacre situation. Remember; if you don’t see at LEAST 7% yield bump on your new variety’s yield data you most likely will not see any difference in your field compared to what you are currently using.
- If you are convinced this is the variety you want to move to, then try it on a small number of acres in a side-by-side trial. I know, it’s a pain, but remember… this is YOUR money we are talking about. You need to see the results of your data on your farm under your management. Trust…but verify. Too many times I have had producers call me up in October to say “I should have listened to you in the winter…I tried this new variety (a whole field) beside my existing variety BXXXXXX (a few acres) because I was told by the seed guy it would out yield BXXXXXX. Their new variety yielded an average of 8.5 bushels/ ac. less.”- Caveat emptor…