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UMN releases annual variety crop trials report

The Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences have published the 2021 Minnesota Field Crop Trials.

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Corn is among the crops evaluated in the Minnesota Field Crop Trials. Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC

The 2021 Minnesota Field Crop Trials have been released.

Published by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), the variety trials are for 10 different Minnesota crops .

According to a press release from the University of Minnesota, the field crop trials offer "unbiased and trustworthy information for farmers ready to make seed choices."

"The annual trials are one of the key ways MAES works to bring valuable research into the hands of farmers and ultimately help improve farm profitability, improve the economy and overall quality of life in Minnesota," read the release.

Since the late 1880s, MAES has published reports of crop variety trials but it wasn’t until 1948 that the trials were combined into a single annual publication.

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Today, the annual field crop trials are designed by staff and published online at varietytrials.umn.edu , and feature several crops that are trialed at multiple Research and Outreach Centers and cooperating farmers’ fields across the state.

Crops included in this year’s trial include alfalfa, barley, canola, corn grain, corn silage, oat, soybean, spring wheat, winter rye and winter wheat. Here are some details for a few of the trials:

Alfalfa

Selecting alfalfa varieties with high forage yield potential and persistence is "fundamental to profitability," according to the report. Public and privately developed alfalfa varieties have been evaluated in research trials at the University of Minnesota for over 80 years, but due to a decline in participation of alfalfa marketers and developers, the number of trials was reduced this year, which will be the final year of the alfalfa variety testing program.

Barley

The average yield across the 14 testing locations was 80 bushels per acre, and the highest yields this year were recorded in Stephen (114 bushels per acre) while the lowest grain yields were recorded in Becker.

Canola
The 2021 Canola Production Center was located west of Roseau, on land owned by Northern Resources Cooperative, according to the field crop trials report, and primary tillage was done by Magnusson Farms.

Corn grain
The Minnesota Corn Evaluation Program was conducted by MAES in effort to provide "unbiased information for use by corn growers when they choose which brand of corn to buy and grow," said the report. Private seed companies entered products into testing and entry fees financed the program.

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Soybean

MAES scientists conducted performance tests of public and private soybean entries, with companies paying an entry fee for each product entered, according to the report. Although the 2021 season was abnormally dry, particularly in the northwestern part of the state, the report states that "scattered and timely precipitation events greatly helped the crop," and overall yields in the trial were "higher than expected."

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