Dr. David Kee

Tools of the Trade: Variety Selection Tips

Howdy all. Last time I mentioned the drought monitor and the predicted early spring. Thinking of an early spring is an impetus to think about seed purchases and variety selection. If you are like most, you’ve already spilled coffee on the seed catalog, thumbed through it, read which variety has the best yield, and learned how each company has the solution for everybody. The problem is; you are not everybody.

My approach is slightly different. First, make a list of the fields where you plan to plant soybeans next spring and list the issues with each field. Next ask yourself questions like these:

• Will that southern stretch be planted first, last or somewhere in the middle?
• Did that western old field have IDC develop in the beans the last time it was planted?
• Didn’t that northern field have an aphid outbreak in the neighbor’s beans?
• Wasn’t there SCN in the eastern field last time we planted to soybeans?

Once you determine the problems, review the solutions (i.e. varieties) that will best help you manage those problems. Fourth, focus on yield potential between the varieties, and which varieties solve your multiple issues. Lastly, pick the varieties that provide the best solution to your problems.

Try to use honest, unbiased information, such as the University of Minnesota Variety trials, to make your decision. However, no one source has information on all varieties available. Necessity requires the seed company to be the solution to common problems. They have a good product, but their publications are designed to service the many. You have to determine your problems, and then find solutions. You don’t need to purchase a solution looking for a problem.