At Peterson Farms Seeds, we conduct a significant amount of research every summer. Whether it’s 250 acres of small plot replicated yield trials, 75 acres of Ole and Sven agronomy trials or all the different projects being conducted on Carl’s entire farming operation, it generates important data. Some of the most compelling data comes from a 60’ X 60’ area (.0083 of an acre). That’s the size of one of our IDC testing locations that we have planted this summer.
We have six of those locations scattered around in some of the worst IDC conditions we could find. Our IDC testing system is simple but highly effective. We find those tough IDC fields, remove the farmer’s beans from that 60’ X 60’ area, then handplant hill plots. A hill plot is seven seeds planted together. Each hill is planted 12 inches away from the next hill. We can plant 2,000 hill plots in that small area, which is key because as you are aware, IDC symptoms can vary greatly within a field. Within the 60’ X 60’ location, an entire test is planted in an area the size of your dining room table.
Next comes the recording of the scores. This year, we are recording scores two ways. A research member will visually score each hill plot by carefully separating out the very poor varieties from the very good ones (see photo below). We are also using drone technology to take pictures of each site. We feed this information into a software package, and it spits out the results. It will be interesting to see how similar the scoring will be.
As you know, replication of testing is huge. Within the six locations, each test will be replicated three times so we will have 18 data points for each variety. This data will be passed along to our growers and dealers, as well as included in our new agronomy summary coming out later this fall. No other company in our region is generating this amount of data to make sure the varieties we sell are classified properly for IDC. Watch for this IDC testing data to come out in early September, as it will be a great tool when making your seed buying decisions for 2023.