The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Crop Variety and Hybrid Testing Program did not conduct soybean or corn variety testing for 2019.

According to UNL research professor Dr. Amanda Easterly, the university is transitioning from running the program out of Lincoln and moving to the High Plains Ag Lab near Sidney, Nebraska, a subsidiary of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff.

“The decision to move the Variety Test Program to HPAL/PHREC from Lincoln was primarily in order to have the wheat testing be managed in an area where wheat is a major crop,” she said. “I am not sure if UNL has had other years where the corn and soy variety tests have not taken place.”

Their major focus for the season was wheat, said Easterly, an expert in dryland cropping systems. They also conducted sorghum and pea variety testing. As for the wheat testing, Easterly said results were positive.

“It was a good wheat year,” she said. “We had a cooler, longer growing season.”

The researchers saw a lot of good varieties, Easterly said. Particularly, CoAXium wheat showed that it provides options for weed control. It is specifically designed to manage grasses and exhibits greater herbicide tolerance and more flexibility, she said.

The professor reported no real surprises during the variety testing. She was pleased with the data and is looking forward to next year when the transition is complete.

“In our first year of disseminating the results from the wheat variety test, we have had positive feedback from producers,” Easterly said. “They appreciate the newer reporting format and are looking forward to additional updates in how we report the data.”

She said the program is also working to ensure rapid reporting of test results so that producers have access to the information sooner and can make selections for their operation in the next growing season.

“We hope to reintroduce variety testing for other crops (corn, sorghum and soybeans) in the near future,” Easterly said.

New ideas on the horizon include hosting multiple field days next year, she said. The program will be doubling the number of applications next year, as well.

“This will allow side-by-side experiments with more intensive evaluations,” Easterly said. “We will be able to apply fungicides and pesticides to a portion of crops that may get infected and then compare results.”

There is also an effort to have interactive charts that are more user-friendly to producers, she said.

“For now, the biggest change is just that the variety testing program has moved to PHREC and will be operated from the HPAL station,” Easterly said. “Beyond that, we’re expanding some of our collaborations, such as adding a wheat TAPS program in conjunction with the corn and sorghum TAPS programs in North Platte.”

Since no variety testing was conducted on corn and soybeans, there will be no seed guide forthcoming from UNL this year. The next seed guide will hopefully be out in fall 2020, Easterly said.

For more information, contact Dr. Amanda Easterly (aeasterly2@unl.edu), Dr. Cody Creech (ccreech2@unl.edu) or your local Extension agent.

Jon Burleson can be reached at jon.burleson@lee.net.

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