Growing the best adapted cultivars
Proper variety selection is the most important decision a farmer makes. Varieties differ in yield potential, drought-tolerance, time required to reach maturity, pest tolerance, disease resistance, and other characteristics. Depending on the crop, there can be dozens of varieties to choose from, but a farmer has limited time and opportunities to evaluate them. The UGA Statewide Variety Testing program (SWVT) evaluated 611 experimental and released crop varieties in 2018, including peanut (48), cotton (86), corn (75), soybean (102), sorghum (79), millet (4), canola (37), ryegrass (47), barley (6), oats (21), triticale (11), rye (8), and wheat (87). Tests included the harvest of grain, lint, pods, forage and/or silage, depending on the species. Depending on the crop, varieties were tested in one to 12 environments to confirm their adaption to Georgia growing conditions. This allowed top-yielding varieties to be identified and other characteristics to be described. Depending on the crop, they saw yield advantages of 9 to 35 percent, compared to the average of varieties that were entered in the tests. This information is shared with Georgia farmers through UGA Cooperative Extension, providing a substantial economic impact.