On-Farm Test Plots Way To Go

A field of corn in Chatham-Kent (File photo by Simon Crouch)

It may seem obvious that hybrid selection is very important to top corn yields but a cropping specialist from Illinois says farmers sometimes don’t pay enough attention to it.

Ken Ferrie with with Crop Tech Consulting told farmers at recent production seminars in Ridgetown that new hybrids are introduced so often that farmers should run their own test trials to be sure what will work for them.

“The hybrids change at a very fast pace and there’s a lot of different options, so implementing a variety plot comes with a lot of responsibility to actually learn how that hybrid emerges, how that ear flexes, how the leaf structure is,” he says. “So studying the hybrid plot for way more than just yield.”

Ferrie says test plots can all be studied closely, but recommends farmers use own for best results under their conditions.

“They are going to react differently to tillage, they are going to react differently to fertility programs, row spacings, plant populations so you need to be doing a variety in your own program.”

He says varieties should be judged under the conditions they will be grown under. He says a variety that performs well on a neighbours no-till fields, for example, may well have different results on conventional or other tillage systems.