Determining best-performing crop cultivars for Georgia

Summary

The statewide variety testing program evaluates current and new cultivars of agronomic crops for performance under Georgia growing conditions. This information is shared with Georgia farmers through the Cooperative Extension Service, providing a substantial economic impact.

Situation

Proper variety selection is the most important decision a farmer makes. Varieties differ in yield potential, drought-tolerance, time required to reach maturity, pest tolerance, disease resistance, and other characteristics. Depending on the crop, there can be dozens of varieties to choose from, but a farmer has limited time and opportunities to evaluate them. In addition, in some crops varieties are only available on the market for a limited number of years, so it is necessary to identify the top performers as quickly as possible. Farmers need accurate, unbiased assessments of crop variety performance, and that is where UGA agronomists step in.

Response

The Statewide Variety Testing program (SWVT) evaluated 704 experimental and released crop varieties from July 2019 to June 2020, including peanut (48), cotton (85), corn (87), soybean (103), sorghum (123), millet (8), canola (29), ryegrass (48), barley (5), oats (37), triticale (8), rye (11), and wheat (103). Tests included the harvest of grain, lint, pods, forage and/or silage, depending on the species. Depending on the crop, varieties were tested in 1 to 9 different environments to confirm their adaption to Georgia growing conditions. This allowed top-yielding varieties to be identified and other characteristics to be described.

Impact

Many new high-yielding varieties were identified and characterized. By how much did the top-performing varieties out-yield the competition? In individual tests we sometimes saw large differences, but it is best compare across multiple locations. In forage and silage tests, we saw yield advantages of 6-22% for the top performer compared to the average of varieties tested. Row crops showed even larger differences, ranging from 6 to 38%. With the tight profit margins that farmers face, proper variety selection can be the difference between profit and loss. The results of our testing are released annually in 4 reports. They are the Small Grain Performance Tests (August); Corn, Sorghum and Summer Annual Forages Performance Tests (November); Soybean Performance Tests (January); and Peanut, Cotton and Tobacco Performance Tests (January). These are available to the public for free on the SWVT website (www.swvt.uga.edu).

State Issue

Sustainability, Conservation, and the Environment

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: State
  • County: Spalding
  • Location: Georgia Station, Griffin
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources

Author

    Mailhot, Daniel J

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Buck, James W.
  • Buntin, G. David
  • Ni, Xinzhi
  • Toews, Michael D

Non-CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Babar, M. A.
  • Blount, A. R.
  • Dillard, S. L.
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