One of the first recommendations Dave Nanda gives to someone asking how to select the best hybrids for their farm is to have a test plot on their own farm of hybrids they use, and include a look at a couple new hybrids each year.
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The next piece of advice Nanda offers is to pay attention to independent testing programs and the results, especially for ones conducted in your area or in soils and environmental conditions similar to yours.
Nanda is a plant breeder and consultant for Seed Consultants, Inc. He is a firm believer in entering corn seed in university tests and independent tests operated by testing companies. He believes that if a company has corn hybrids that show up well in these tests, it is a good indicator that their genetics have value.
The catch is that these corn hybrid testing programs are not free. Seed agronomists are busy right now either delivering personally or shipping seed to test locations where their entries will be included in the testing program.
At the same time, someone from the accounting office of the company sends a handsome check to either the university testing program or the independent testing company to cover entry fees into the test. The entry fees help university programs stay self-sufficient, and supply monetary incentive for private testing companies that rely on this kind of income to turn a profit.
Recently some farmers ask why their favorite hybrids aren't in test. It's not because universities or companies don't accept them or wouldn't be glad to include them if they entered corn hybrids and paid the entry fee, Nanda notes.
Certain companies choose to run their own tests, believing it is better use of their resources to operate their own testing program.
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The drawback, of course, is that then there is no comparison of how they stack up in truly independent tests vs. some of the competition they go head to head with in the field.
In the end, whether to enter a test plot is a decision that each seed corn company must make.
From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose, every decision you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. Download our FREE report: Maximizing Your Corn Yield.