Don't get in too big of a hurry in ordering seed for 2007. "You should look at the information that's available showing how varieties and hybrids performed in 2006 before you buy seed for next spring's planting," advises Jim Rouse, an Iowa State University Extension agronomy specialist.
ISU conducts corn hybrid and soybean variety tests across the state each year. "This data is very useful to farmers because we evaluate bean varieties and corn hybrids across these locations in replicated trials to see how they perform," says Rouse, who is the project leader in charge of the trials.
Corn and soybean variety trial results for individual locations are being posted throughout the 2006-harvest season at www.croptesting.iastate.edu.
"We'll post the data as soon as we harvest the plots," he says. "District averages will appear after the harvest of plots in each district is complete, and the two-year averages will appear shortly afterward."
Look at the data, then make decisions
There is no timeline for the postings; it depends on the harvest season. The final version of each district report will be posted online, probably in early November, and that information can be accessed by computer and printed by users. The version that will be published in an ISU publication, as in the past, will be available in early December.
New this year for ISU's variety trials are the testing districts for corn and soybeans. They're now the same for both crops. They are similar to the bean districts of the past, but with an overlapping east-west split. This means the number of soybean districts went from three to six, and corn districts went from seven to six.
The tests in each district are now divided into an early-season and a late-season test, too, so you can compare yield results of earlier and later maturity corn hybrids and bean varieties.