All posts by Virginia Sykes, Extension Variety Testing & Agroecology

2021 Corn Grain Hybrid Tests in TN – Now Available

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Results from the 2021 TN corn grain hybrid trials are now available at Seventy-one hybrids were evaluated in small plot replicated trials (REC) at seven locations and fifty-four hybrids were evaluated in ten to twenty locations as non-replicated large strip plots (CST).  A summary of hybrids that were in the “A group” (not statistically different from the top yield within each test) in either the REC or CST trial is given below. Continue reading

A new tool for utilizing Mid-South soybean variety trial data

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Which soybean variety is best suited to my region? State variety testing programs provide critical research to help answer that question by evaluating hundreds of soybean varieties every year across multiple locations within a state. But what if we think beyond the bounds of our state borders when it comes to variety evaluation? While a single state alone provides valuable data, our growing regions often cross state lines. A location in West Tennessee may share more similarities to sites in East Arkansas than it does to East Tennessee. By combining variety testing data across multiple states, we can create a more robust dataset that allows us to better predict which varieties are best suited to specific regions and growing conditions. Continue reading

2021 Cover Crop Variety Trials in Tennessee

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As corn and soybean come out of the fields, it’s time to think about planting cover crops. Cover crops offer many benefits to cash crop systems. They can improve soil health and long-term resiliency, suppress weeds, reduce soil and nutrient losses, and provide nitrogen to your subsequent cash crop. However, it is important to remember that not all cover crop species and varieties are created equal. Just like planting a maturity group 0 soybean in Tennessee is not going to maximize your yield, planting a cover crop species or variety that is not regionally adapted is not going to maximize your benefits.

Which cover crop species/varieties will maximize benefits in a Tennessee production system? Over the past two years, we have conducted cover crop variety trials in Tennessee to help answer that question. The latest results from 2020-2021 can be found here. Pdf and excel files from all years are available at Continue reading

Mid-South soybean variety testing database survey

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Growing regions often cross state lines but variety test information is typically reported by state. To provide stakeholders with a clearer picture of variety performance, a project is underway to develop a web-based, Mid-South soybean variety testing database that allows end-users to summarize and filter yield, quality, and phenotypic data based on location characteristics that cross multiple states. This research is being performed as a collaborative project with the University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, NC State, and University of Arkansas and is funded by the United Soybean Board. Input from those involved in soybean production (grower, seed industry, Extension, crop advisor) is important for developing a product that best meets the needs of stakeholders. If you are interested in providing input for this research project, the survey can be found at (respondents must be 18 or older). If you have any additional questions regarding this project, please contact the lead PI, Dr. Virginia Sykes, at

Soybean Herbicide Trait Summary

Herbicide resistant traits available in soybean continue to increase.  It does not seem that long ago that there was either Roundup Ready or conventional soybean.  There are no less than eight different soybean herbicide resistant traits available today with the most recent being XtendFlex soybean.  Continue reading

Cover Crop Variety Trial Results

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Are you thinking about putting in a cover crop this fall? While cover crops can provide many benefits, picking the right species and varieties for your system is critical to maximizing those benefits. Check out our 2020 cover crop variety trial results for a head-to-head comparison of 60 cover crop varieties at three TN locations.

Cover crops were planted in fall 2019 and evaluated for a number of important traits, including fall and winter canopy cover, biomass at termination (April and May), and estimated nitrogen release.

  • Top-performing cereal varieties, including Bates RS4 cereal rye, NF95319B cereal rye, NF 97325 cereal rye, NF99362 cereal rye, and Wintergrazer 70 cereal rye, excelled at providing fall canopy cover and spring biomass,
  • Top-performing legume varieties, including AU Merit hairy vetch, Survivor winter pea, Purple Bounty hairy vetch, Patagonia Inta hairy vetch, and WinterKing hairy vetch, excelled at providing winter canopy cover, spring biomass, and nitrogen release.
  • Top-performing brassica varieties, including Viva hybrid brassica, Digger radish, and Smart radish provided above average fall and winter canopy cover at the East and West TN locations.

More information can be found in the full publication or excel tables. A virtual tour of the plots was also presented at the virtual Milan no-till field day and is available here.