Extension Agent: Crop variety trials
By Joe Janak
Planting and using crop variety trials by farmers has been one of the best tools to evaluate numerous varieties for production efficiency in one setting. For decades, farmers have looked at Texas AgriLife Extension Service demonstrations to see these results, evaluating the top varieties offered by seed companies. Data from 2011's major crops overall and also from trials and demonstrations are presented below.
Across the county, sorghum survived the drought and did fairly well yielding from 3,500 to 6,000 pounds per acre and averaging 4,500 pounds per acre. Jerry Hroch, Victoria farmer, planted the county grain sorghum hybrid demonstration on March 10. His yields ranged from 3,358 to 4,687 pounds per acre averaging 4,076. See Table 1 for the sorghum results. As in most of our replicated trial's results, yields in a column followed by the same letter are not significantly different. In other words, all yields followed by an "a," statistically yield the same and should not be considered better than others with an "a," even though they are different in numerical value.
In spite of the drought, the corn yields were fair to good in most parts of the county, and Howard Book's planting of the top 10 corn hybrids on Feb. 24, proved fairly good, too. His non-irrigated yields ranged from 67 to 91 bushels per acre, or about 30 bushels below the typical county average because of the drought. Countywide, yields ranged from 55 to 105 bushels per acre averaging about 80 bushels per acre, about 30 bushels lower than normal. See Table 2.
Larry Stary managed the soybean variety demonstration with 25 different soybean varieties planted on three different dates (March 16, March 29 and April 13). Planting on three different dates allows farmers to evaluate the varieties over a varied planting time, which farmers are typically faced with. Because of the drought and typical later planting period, soybean yields were not good averaging in the county from five to 15 bushels per acre. Yields in this test ranged from zero to 19 bushels per acre. See Table 3.
The cotton variety demonstrations planted by Justin Leita yielded quite good for the environmental conditions. On March 11, Leita planted both the RoundupFlex Stacked-Gene and the Liberty Link trials. His yields ranged from 683 to 890 pounds per acre. Yields throughout the county averaged 750 pounds per acre and ranged from 500 to 1,000 pounds per acre.
Various other crop demonstrations were conducted in Victoria County in 2011, but the variety results noted will allow farmers to review the data and make seed booking decisions for the next season. Additional area and regional demonstration data is also available at the Extension office.
Joe Janak is a Victoria County extension agent.