Recent rainfall should have area growers looking a bit more optimistic about this springs growing season. Hopefully, we will continue to receive the benefit of precipitation as we move into 2014. At this time many row crop producers are booking seed and weighing their options on which hybrids are appropriate for their operation.

Variety selection is the most important decision growers can make. It cannot be easily changed and once it is made it affects all other decision a grower makes in regards to how that crop will be managed through the growing season. Future fertilizer, herbicide, and insecticide decisions will all have to be based off of what variety was planted in a given field.

Differences in variety performance can be significant. It is common to see yield differences between varieties as great as 25 percent in replicated trials. This can have a substantial impact on a grower’s bottom line. Therefore it is important that growers take advantage of all the tools that are available to them in making their variety selections.

One of the best tools a grower can utilize is the on-farm replicated variety trials conducted by AgriLife Extension personnel across the state. These trials are a collaborative effort between growers, extension, and the seed industry.

In addition to yield data, information such as fiber quality and lint value in the case of cotton or maturity and disease ratings in the case of grain sorghum are also generally collected. This information coupled with grower experience and data provided from the seed industry make growers well equipped to make selections for the 2014 growing season.

Varity trial data can be accessed at http://varietytesting.tamu.edu. At this site growers can access information on both local variety trials and from across the state for grain sorghum, cotton, wheat and corn. There is typically also 3 year summary of each trial location in addition to the current year’s results to further assisting in the variety selection process. This allows growers to not only evaluate how a particular hybrid did in a given year, but also some insight into the consistency of that hybrid over time.

In addition to variety trial information this site is also an excellent resource for information on weed, disease, and insect management. For more information on variety selection you can contact the Nueces County Extension office at 361-767-5223.