Understanding Plot Data
By: Kyle Vosburgh
Reading and Understanding Plot Data
Now that the sales season is in full swing and many people are getting ready for the 2016 planting season it is a good time to familiarize yourself with regional plot data. Understanding plot data is a useful tool in selecting the right hybrids for your farm. In an industry where we often only look at bushels per acre and dry tons per acre; it's important to understand everything that is being told by plot data.
Every year large amounts of time and money are put into plot data analysis. It not only helps farmers pick the best hybrids for their piece of ground, but also helps seed companies place those hybrids in the most optimal areas possible. What are the most important numbers on your farm? Is it bushels per acre that will go to the elevator, or is it dry tons per acre that will be fed? Although both of these are prime numbers in choosing the right hybrids, there are other factors to consider.
Often times plot data will allow the opportunity for you to look at hybrids in many different trait levels. The data can also be helpful in figuring out the range of maturity that would be suit your operation. It can be very rewarding sometimes to push the maturity range of hybrids to maximize yields, whereas sometimes it can be good to back off a couple of days on maturity to fit perfectly into that harvest dry down window. One of the best and easiest ways to maximize your yields is by understanding planting populations and later stand counts. This is many times the most important factor in harvest yields. Did you get out of your fields what you put in? If you planted at a population of 32,000 plants per acre then there is no better way to maximize yields than by understanding how to harvest a population of 32,000 plants. Picking the right hybrids, trait stacks, and seed treatments is the best way of achieving this goal.
Finally, bushels per acre and dry tons per acre are a good indication of how well a hybrid may perform in your area. Bushels per acre are not only an important number for guys looking for grain yields, but also those taking their crop for corn silage. The ear can account for nearly 50 percent of plant weight, so looking at bushel per acre yield in silage isn’t always a bad idea. Dry tons per acre is often times the most important number for those going for silage. It's quite simple. More often than not, more tonnage makes for increased milk production. When looking at your regional plot data this year don’t count out other numbers though. Look a little bit closer so you can put your best foot forward this coming planting season.