By Jim Eggerichs, technical seed manager, CROPLAN® seed
Now that harvest is complete, seed selection for next season is probably near the top of your to-do list. If you are a soybean farmer, how do you know which varieties will perform best in various soil types and yield environments? Since the characteristics of each field are different, and even areas within the same field can vary greatly — for example, in terms of soil quality and texture — there is value in having variety-specific management data for your soybean crop.
The CHT Tool, a component of the R7® Tool by WinField® United, uses data from the Answer Plot® Program to help compare soybean seed varieties from CROPLAN® seed and other major seed companies to see how they are potentially projected to perform on fields like yours. The CHT Tool has been used to compare corn hybrids for several years and is now available to perform similar functions to help optimize soybean seed selection.
The tool displays at least three years of Answer Plot® program yield data based on soil type and yield environment to help you make data-driven decisions regarding your seed choices. Yield environment is defined as the intensity of field stress or disease issues present in the field — whatever negative factors are keeping that soybean yield from being the most it can be. Yield environment and soil type data should be used in tandem to help select the proper soybean variety for a specific field.
In 2017, we tested 30 top-performing soybean seed varieties every four to six days of maturity at Answer Plot® test locations across the country. At the end of this season, the CHT Tool will be able to pull this data in from very specific areas. It can also analyze data on a wider scale than just a local plot, providing users with scope and perspective.
Disease ratings coming soon
We are in the process of adding a universal soybean disease rating to the CHT Tool, which may provide a uniform benchmark of all the seed suppliers included in Answer Plot® testing as of 2017. This year, in addition to CROPLAN® varieties, we tested soybeans from Asgrow®, Mycogen®, NK® and Pioneer®.
Because every seed company has a different rating scale for disease tolerance, WinField United is seeking to standardize all ratings that will be included in the CHT Tool and R7® Tool across all companies in a ratings scale that will run from 1 to 5. After we have harvested all Answer Plot® test plots, we will include this scale in the tool along with our 2017 yield data.
Predictive information to reduce risk
Many challenges can occur in any given field, and having yield information that matches up with a particular environment can help you better predict seed performance for the following year.
Looking at data for one area reveals what soybean varieties did best there last year, but looking at data from a variety of environments and using different testing methods like we do in our Answer Plot® Program gives you a better idea of how a variety may perform next year. Of course, we don’t know specifically what next year will bring, but the CHT Tool can improve our chances of predicting the potential performance of a soybean variety in a given field. This ability to help reduce risk in variety selection by having more predictable performance for the next growing season can mean big opportunities for you to optimize yield and ROI potential at this time next year.
Another way CROPLAN® seed helps soybean farmers reduce risk is through WinPak® soybean varieties, which are a unique combination of two varieties that provide an exceptional level of stability throughout the field. Answer Plot® data shows that WinPak® varieties work together to help reduce risk from environmental conditions, including field variability, weather and soil conditions, and disease.
Selection that fits your style
Some farmers are analytical and like to review a lot of plot data to help them select seed, while others are more prone to rely on the recommendations of their seed representative. Having trust in your seed rep to help guide your decision-making isn’t a bad thing. But be sure to ask your rep for data that helps support his or her recommendations. This will help ground those recommendations in solid numbers that take past performance and field conditions into account, and provide you with a written reference to use in planning for the following season.
The CHT Tool continues to evolve, with seed selection for corn silage and wheat next on the horizon. In addition to yield data, corn silage data will include rating information on digestibility and starch content. Stay tuned for more information on these expanded capabilities in the coming months.
For data that spans multiple years for a variety of soybean products over a number of different field conditions, talk with your WinField United agronomist or technology manager about the CHT Tool. Ask for a demonstration on how it can help you manage and potentially capitalize on the variability within your soybean fields. For more information, visit winfieldunited.com.
WinField United is a trademark and WinField is a registered trademark of Winfield Solutions, LLC.
Asgrow is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC.
Mycogen is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.
NK is a registered trademark of a Syngenta Group Company.
Pioneer is a registered trademark of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
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