November 13, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman

As farmers begin planning for 2003, what corn varieties to plant will be one decision they must make and variety trials can help guide them.

Even in a low yielding year such as 2002 plot information is still useful, said William Pearce, a University of Kentucky College of Agriculture corn variety tester.

It can be useful information because it shows that some hybrids can yield well even in stressful environments. 

Pearce and Ron Curd, who conducts the UK corn variety trials at seven locations in the state, said farmers spend a substantial amount of money on seed corn and need to look at as much data as they can in determining what selections to make.

While this year’s data is sound information, studying two years’ data is better, Pearce said. It provides two sets of environmental information for the seed tested. Also, instead of reviewing 21 replications, it provides data from 42 replications from the UK trials.

Also, Pearce encourages producers to look at data from other sources to make an informed decision about what hybrids would be productive for their operation. Many agriculture agents in the UK Cooperative Extension Service also conduct variety trials in their counties as well as private companies.

This year’s variety trial information has been collected and analyzed. It will be

available through local county Extension offices or on the Internet around Nov. 7.

This year’s results show varying yields at all the locations. In lower yielding years, there can be more variation within a testing environment, Pearce said. He prefers the data to have a variation (CV) of no more than 10 percent but feels the data is still useful as long as it is below 15 percent.

Pearce noted that he had varieties at some locations yield 200 bushels per acre. A lot had to do with when the crop received rain, just as it did in fields across the state.

Another factor farmers may want to note is the moisture level in the yields when they were harvested. Differing moisture levels can be found within the early, medium and late varieties. For example, one variety within the medium season category may have been harvested at 15 percent moisture while another still retained 17 percent moisture even though both were planted and harvested at the same time.

That difference in moisture content could add costs to the farmer through additional drying requirements or yield losses due to additional field drying time.

All these are factors farmers may want to consider as they begin the process of evaluating the varieties used in 2002 and whether to make a change in 2003.



William Pearce, (859) 257-1874