University plot trials provide key results
Phil DeVillez doesn’t pretend to think anyone would make planting decisions based solely off university trials. But he is dedicated to making sure results are a good tool in a farmer’s toolbox.
DeVillez manages corn and soybean hybrid and variety trials for Purdue University. The state is split into three regions — north, central and south. Within each region, there are four sites for corn, with three replications each, and three sites for soybeans, with four replications.
• University test plots provide an independent source of results.
• Corn hybrids and soybean varieties are selected and entered by companies.
• Results are available year-round on the plot program website.
Companies pay $250 to enter a hybrid or variety in a region. “They bring us the seed, so we assume they bring their best,” DeVillez says. “Each plot is treated the same, so all entries get a fair shot.”
DeVillez urges farmers to nominate favorite hybrids or varieties through their companies. Which ones a company enters is strictly up to it.
There are results on the plot website continuously. As new results come in each fall, they are posted to replace the previous year’s results. Visit www.ag.purdue.edu/agry/pcpp/pages/default.aspx.
“We see our data as another tool,” DeVillez notes. “Part of the farmer-seed dealer relationship is trust. This gives the seed dealer independent data for the person who wants to know more about how a hybrid or variety performs.”
Some may wonder if results from such an odd year have values. “We certainly believe they do,” DeVillez says. “We saw extremes in our plots, from a very good continuous corn plot near Washington to very poor plots at the Northeast Indiana Purdue Ag Center.
“This past year gave producers a chance to see what hybrids and varieties can do under severe stress. The goal is to look for ones that perform consistently near the top.”
This article published in the January, 2012 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.