Harvest turns the page on another growing season. I have written in the past about observing and learning from the growing season and gaining knowledge to make better decisions in the following year.
Most good decisions come from some solid facts; information and knowledge are crucial when making important decisions. Information is everywhere. We have more information at our fingertips than ever before.
We are bombarded every day with television, radio, websites, e-mail, Twitter, and text messages. Sometimes we even learn things from face-to-face conversations with another person.
As you gather yield information this fall, take a minute to think about plot data so you can make good, fact-based decisions for next year’s crop.
Fundamentally, hybrid and variety plots are good. They give seed companies and growers a way to evaluate and compare products across a large geography and in a variety of environments.
In most areas of Illinois, the growing environment wasn’t ideal, with multiple factors working against our yields. Extreme environments can cause extreme differences in product performance because not all genetics react the same in those environments.
Be cautious when looking at and making decisions based on plot data. Remember: Good, reliable information is what you need to make good decisions.
Ask questions about what happened throughout the growing season that may have affected the plant’s ability to perform (wet spring, compaction, wet holes, hot and dry, wind, etc.).
When was the plot planted? That will have a direct correlation to pollination/flowering date and the environmental effects on those important times in the plant’s life.
Consider looking at multiple locations and multiple years of data. Every year and location are different. With extreme environmental conditions, every hybrid or variety will fail somewhere, and that same hybrid or variety will shine somewhere else.
Don’t put too much emphasis on data from one plot or from one year. Try to look at data compiled from multiple sites and from multiple years, if it’s possible.
Your local FS crop specialist can help you gather good information to assist you in making informed decisions.
Lance Ruppert is FS Seed sales and marketing manager. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org