Official Variety Test: Soybean Variety Selection

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Variety selection is one of the most important choices you’ll make all year. Out of the hundreds of soybean varieties available how do you know what to choose? In this short video, Ryan Heiniger, Director of NC State University’s Official Variety Testing Program, shows us how to simplify the selection process and tells us about a new update coming to the OVT site:

When it comes to soybeans there are many varieties, traits, maturity groups, and a long planting window. Where do we start when choosing varieties?

  1. Relative Maturity – This will depend on your cropping system and planting date. Narrowing down the maturity group is the fastest way to narrow down variety options.
  2. Herbicide Traits – Herbicide trait chart Know which herbicide program you want to use throughout the year. This quick reference chart by Dr. Wes Everman makes it easy to see which herbicides are safe to apply to different traits of soybean.
  3. Yield Levels – Use the data available to you for variety selection to make informed decisions, both the statewide and local data. NC State Extension provides the highest quality, unbiased variety testing data for producers in this state. Using the NC OVT data, be sure to look specifically at either the full-season or the double-crop chart when choosing a variety since a variety may perform differently across different planting dates.
  4. Disease and Nematode Resistance – In certain years resistance to pests can make or break a crop. Select varieties with resistance or tolerance to common pest problems in your fields or in the region.

When looking at that data whether on the OVT website or variety selection tool remember your best source of data is going to be anything with 3 years or more, however, this can be difficult to find with the rapid turnover in soybean varieties. Varieties that have performed well year-after-year are more likely to be consistent producers across a larger variety of weather events and differences in pest populations.