New platform for Auburn University variety testing data.
Harvest was underway in Alabama, but variety trial results were already in. Now is the time for producers to begin making crop variety decisions for the 2022 planting season.
Alabama Cooperative Extension System researchers, in partnership with the Auburn University College of Agriculture and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, have spent much of 2021 conducting variety trials. These trials are planted on farms and at the eight AAES locations throughout the state.
Auburn University variety testing manager Henry Jordan says cultivar selection is the most important decision a grower can make.
“The ability to manage the crop and make all the right in-season decisions can’t make up for a bad variety selection. The AU variety testing program provides an unbiased, third-party evaluation of commercial and experimental varieties side by side. This allows growers to make informed decisions.”
The program is currently testing peanuts, corn, cotton, soybean, grain sorghum, wheat, oat, triticale and ryegrass varieties.
As producers begin making decisions for 2022, they will notice the AU variety testing program has implemented a new data delivery system.
“The new variety selection platform combines official variety trials and on-farm data, increases the utility and value of the data, and gives users much more control,” Jordan says. “The new platform has multiple tools that allow users to customize the data to their specific growing situation.”
Producers can query a variety based on the criteria of their choice. They can also visually compare multiple locations and years of data simultaneously, compare potential varieties side by side, view graph data and more.
Importance of Variety Trials
Paul Brown, associate director of Alabama Extension, says the AU variety testing program helps Extension agents and Alabama producers become more familiar with varieties that are available and suited to the state.
“Yield and certain agronomic traits are evaluated through the testing program to help growers plan for the upcoming season,” Brown says.
On-farm trials give producers a look at variety performance managed on a production scale. They also provide performance information for a particular geographical area. The trials allow farmers and researchers to determine whether small-plot results will translate to full field production.
Researchers can include as many as 50 cultivars or hybrids in small-plot experiments at the research stations. Official variety trials are a mixture of established varieties and experimental lines.
Seed companies enter experimental lines to test performance against existing lines. These tests also gauge how well a variety will perform in different areas of the state. The companies select the cultivars or hybrids they would like tested, then researchers select other varieties for comparison.
The variety trials are an enduring example of Extension’s commitment to unbiased, science-based research. Seed costs are a significant component of crop budgets. The choice a producer makes has significant financial implications. This is one of the reasons AU and Extension personnel continue to devote time to the statewide variety trials.
Learn more about the variety trial results and the AAES Variety Testing Program’s new platform at https://aaes.auburn.edu/variety-tests/.
Article provided by the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.