Interpreting Harvest Yield Data: Part 1

Categories: PLANNING, CORN, SOYBEANS
Accurate analysis of this year’s corn and soybean yield data is key for successfully selecting next season’s genetics. If possible, an on-farm corn or soybean test plot provides valuable insight for local growing environments. That’s because weather significantly influences crop development, and ultimately, performance. But with the rapid introduction of new technologies, consider all management practices when weighing seed selection options. This includes weed, disease and insect control in addition to genetics. 

The 3 data comparison factors
Sometimes yield results are available from multiple sources. First, look for plot information with similar environments or management inputs as your farming operation. Whether the data comes from 1 local field trial or multiple locations over several years, comparisons should have the same following 3 factors: 
  • Trait package: Only compare products with similar traits, such as insect control, weed management and drought tolerance options. Use caution when comparing hybrids without similar trait offerings. For example, hybrids with insect control will often yield much higher than non-traited corn. 
  • Relative maturity (RM): This rating estimates how many growing days it takes for a hybrid or variety to reach maturity. Yield is often maximized by planting the fullest-season hybrid or variety adaptable to a specific growing region. The best yield comparisons result from matching hybrids and varieties with the same RM. 
  • Moisture content: Make sure you’re comparing similar RMs by observing the moisture difference between 2 products. Use the following crop guidelines when analyzing moisture levels: 
    • Corn: Plus or minus a moisture difference of 3%
    • Soybeans: Plus or minus a moisture difference of 2%
Data quantity for quality decisions
Determining the amount of yield data needed for the next season’s seed selection is a delicate balancing act. If possible, analyze data from several locations that represent your growing conditions across multiple years. These variables can provide high levels of confidence for decision-making. To help consolidate results, combine all data into a single performance summary.

When analyzing recap results, look for consistently top-performing hybrids and varieties across multiple locations. Watch out for hybrids that win 1 trial but rank lower in another comparison. Sometimes 1 hybrid might be in certain plots, but excluded from others. Understanding how hybrids and varieties fit your specific field environments is critical. Also consider trait technology, disease tolerance and on-farm management practices before selecting genetics. 

To further expand on yield analysis, we’ll identify the statistical tools used to calculate data in our next blog post. Contact your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor for help selecting the right hybrids and varieties for your fields, or for additional agronomic insights.

Photos are either the property of Syngenta or used under agreement.

Syngenta hereby disclaims liability for third-party websites.
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