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3 Ways Date Can Help Shape Hybrid Decisions

Making good seed decisions starts with leveraging the data that’s best suited for your operation. Ideally, this means fusing national data with highly localized data from your region or your farm specifically. Use these three data-driven strategies to help ensure you are using the most relevant information when choosing your hybrids.

1. Consider your field environment and management style when making decisions for 2020.

Not all hybrids are created equal, and some respond better to certain management strategies than others. Response-to scores can help you match your seed choices to your management style, as well as to the potential of individual fields.

WinField United has been collecting response-to data through our Answer Plot® program since 2011. Response-to scores measure the response of individual hybrids to population, nitrogen, rotation and fungicide. Using these scores lets you allocate your crop inputs budget more precisely and can lead to harvesting additional bushels that may have otherwise been left in your fields.

For example, if you tend to go after the high-yielding acre and use maximum inputs throughout the year, consider choosing seed with high response-to scores for the opportunity to achieve optimal yield potential through high management. Conversely, if you want to manage through the season using fewer inputs, choosing seed that responds favorably to fewer input applications is probably preferable to planting a hybrid with a high response to nitrogen or fungicide. Different seed products let you apply inputs less intensely but may still give you an ROI and yield potential that is acceptable to you, if you manage them as directed.

This Answer Plot® data shows how hybrids with high response-to scores have fared in the field over the past eight seasons:

Type of score Eight-year average (2011–2018)

Response to population 8.4 additional bushels per acre1
Response to nitrogen 66.1 additional bushels per acre2
Response to rotation 14.2 additional bushels per acre3
Response to fungicide 13.9 additional bushels per acre (4-year average, 2015–18)4
Total average response 89.6 additional bushels per acre

Another hybrid selection tool is the WinField® United Characterization Charts (CHT Tool), which contains up to three years’ worth of Answer Plot seed data. This allows you to compare CROPLAN® hybrids against those from other major companies based on soil type, crop rotation, plant population and management practices. Even if you already know which hybrids you want to plant, be sure to leverage the CHT Tool to understand how to best manage those hybrids to derive optimal yield potential.

2. Demand data that proves performance.

It used to be common practice to try a few different hybrids throughout the season, discard the ones that didn’t work and then rely on those that did the following season. Because of evolving technology, that isn’t feasible anymore; hybrids don’t stay in the market as long as they used to. Moreover, just because a hybrid worked for you this year doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you again next year. And just because a product didn’t work this year doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t plant it again. This is where reliable data can help guide your selection process. Be sure your data is:
Validated by replication. The more data points you have, the stronger the data. Our Answer Plot® data is backed by extensive replicated trials and run through a quality assurance process to help ensure greater accuracy.
Prescriptive, not descriptive. Graphs and spreadsheets about past performance have their place, but to be successful you need data-driven recommendations for your farm. Our data offers you a clear idea of what to do in the future.

You can — and should — know how to manage products from the very first year you plant them. Every new WinField United product (seed and otherwise) is tested in our Answer Plot system before going to market. So, the first year a product is available, we have data available to help you determine if it’s a worthwhile investment for your operation.

3. Consult your agronomist to review this year and plan for next.

At the end of the season, you’ll probably have a significant amount of data collected. Reviewing that much information can be overwhelming, so team up with your agronomist to correctly dissect it. Together, you can review what happened this season and determine what needs to be changed for next season. Maybe it’s using a new hybrid that fits your needs better. Maybe it’s putting together a more realistic management plan. Bottom line, you and your agronomist want to know what went wrong, what went right and how to do better in the future. Your agronomist can help you view the season holistically, taking into account critical management and input elements and creating a plan that is rooted in data.

Although you never know what the season will bring, the highest odds of success come from managing the seed as recommended. For more information on the Answer Plot program, technology tools and how to get the most out of your seed investment, give us a call.

Rugby Agronomy Center at 776-7692  |  Mohall Agronomy Center 701-756-6469  |  Wolford Agronomy Center 701-583-2823

Article provided by Ryan Moeller, Technical Seed Manager | Winfield United