Are different products tested at each site
in a region?
No. Within a
region, all locations include the
exact same seed products. This
approach provides valid apples to
apples comparisons in our
Performance (regional) Summary.
Where can I find a list of ALL
products included in F.I.R.S.T. tests?
From any page on our web site,
hover over “2012 Reports” in the
menu at the top of the page.
Click on Corn Grain, Corn Silage, or
to access that page of reports.
Find the region you want and click “Products Tested”
for that region. A file will open
revealing the products tested at all
locations in that region. The same
products are tested at all locations
in that region.
How many replications are at each
site, and across a region? Why
is this important?
For all corn and soybean tests,
each product is replicated (reps) 3
times per location. The exact same
corn seed products are replicated 18
times within a region (6 locations x
3 reps/location) and soybean
products are replicated 12 times
within a region (4 locations x 3
reps/location). Replications are
important to get a true picture of
the yield potential for a product.
The more replications we test, the
better our chance of determining the
true yield potential of a product.
Does F.I.R.S.T. use small plots?
We use small plot research
techniques. All F.I.R.S.T. test
plots are a minimum of 10 ft wide
and 40 ft long.
My seed company has said small
plots do not provide true yield
results. Why does
F.I.R.S.T. use small plot
Every issue has 2 sides and this is
no different. Every commercial seed
product was developed using small
plot results. Since corn and soybean
yields continue to improve, small
plot results must work. F.I.R.S.T.
seed testing tries to show the
relative yield difference across a
large number of products. For this
approach, small plot research works
well. Our field managers utilize
techniques to minimize factors that
limit maximum yield potential
associated with small plots. Larger
strip plots can deliver a better
indication of maximum yield
potential. However, this approach
can only compare a small number of
products uniformly, especially in
areas with variable soil types.
Since producers like the fact that
our tests compare many products, we
feel small plot testing provides the
best solutions for our customers.
What is Gross Income, and how
should I use this information?
Gross Income is the dollar value of
the grain less drying costs to reach
15% grain moisture. If you desire
high moisture corn grain for feed,
Gross Income is irrelevant to you.
However, if you are selling or
storing low moisture corn, you
should select products with the
highest gross income to maximize
profit potential. For example,
hybrid A yields 200 bu/acre at 25%
moisture and $550/acre gross income;
hybrid B yields 185 bu/acre at 15%
moisture and $555/acre gross income,
despite having lower yield, hybrid B
is a more profitable choice due to
having drier grain than hybrid A.
How does F.I.R.S.T. determine
the Top 30 corn products?
All corn product results are first
sorted from high to low based on
Gross Income. Products are assigned
a rank (1 = highest) for Gross
Income. All information for the Top
30 Gross Income corn products are
then sorted by Grain Yield from high
to low and presented in tabular
Why do corn brands with yields
greater than those in the Top 30
not make the list?
Corn data tables include only the Top 30
Gross Income products. Frequently there are
higher yielding products with higher grain
moisture and lower Gross Income that fall
just outside of the Top 30. These products
may miss the Top 30 at a single location but
may reappear in the Performance (Regional)
Why are only the Top 30 products shown in your data tables?
All growers strive to produce above
average crop yields by selecting the
top producing products for their
geography. By presenting only the
Top 30 performers, we help narrow
the focus to only the best products
in that test. Growers need to select
products that consistently deliver
above average performance across a
broad variety of conditions. The Top
30 products in our Performance
(Regional) Summaries provide the
greatest potential to deliver
consistent above average performance
and maximum gross income.
What parameters are considered in
F.I.R.S.T. grain yield
Corn grain bushel/acre calculations
adjust to 15% moisture and 56 lb
corn/bushel, typical commercial
standards. In addition, corn is
adjusted for shrinkage due to
moisture and invisible loss. Soybean
grain yield is adjusted to 13%
moisture and 60 lb soybean/bushel.
Grain shrinkage is not factored into
our soybean yield calculations since
they are below 13% moisture at
Your grain shrinkage factor is
much higher than what my grain
elevator uses. How is your
There are 2 shrink factors that
grain merchants may consider when
buying grain, moisture shrink and
invisible (handling) shrink. Many
grain merchant only deduct for
moisture shrink to account for water
weight lost from drying. Other
merchants additionally consider
invisible shrink, losses for broken
kernels, foreign matter, volatile
compounds or oils lost in the drying
process. F.I.R.S.T. has chosen to
use a Constant Shrink Factor (aka
pencil shrink) which pools both
moisture and invisible shrink into
one factor (1.3 to 1.4 typically)
for our calculations. Commercially,
it is not unusual for the Constant
Shrink Factor to range from 1.2 to
1.5% per point.
What is that LSD (0.10) value
in your tables?
Least Significant Difference (LSD)
is a statistically derived value
that is used to show that 2 products
are truly different based on yield.
If the yield difference between 2
products is greater than or equal to
the LSD value, a person can claim
one product is statistically
different than the other.For
example, Hybrid A and Hybrid B yield
200 and 190 bu/A, respectively, LSD
= 5. Hybrid A is statistically
different than Hybrid B because
their yield difference of 10 bu
(200-190) is greater or equal to the
LSD value 5 bu/A.
In your corn data tables, why
are the results occasionally
It is well documented that later
maturing corn products typically
have greater yield potential than
early season products. F.I.R.S.T.
insists that all products in a test
fall within a defined maturity range
for valid comparisons. Using
statistical analysis of grain
moisture, we can identify products
that lie outside of the defined
maturity range for the trial. Those
outlier product results are
italicized so readers realize this
product may have an unfair yield
advantage by exceeding the maturity
My favorite seed company's
products are not included in
your tests. Why is that?
With the exception of check
products, neither F.I.R.S.T.
managers nor host farmers choose the
products entered in our tests. Seed
companies do. Corporate culture or
perceived value of F.I.R.S.T.
results weigh heavily in the
business decision whether or not to
participate in F.I.R.S.T. trials. If
you value F.I.R.S.T. results and key
companies are not participating,
express your concerns to the seed
What things can I learn by
comparing the check hybrids
between early and full season
tests at each site and across
At F.I.R.S.T. test locations with
multiple tests, the early and full
season tests are positioned adjacent
to each other. Despite the
proximity, variations in soil,
fertility, and moisture will create
yield differences between tests. To
measure this difference, an
identical “Check” hybrid is included
in both tests. This yield difference
is useful for comparing products
across the Early and Full Season
tests. For example, if the Full
Season check has a 3 bu/acre
advantage over the Early Season
check, add 3 bu/acre to an Early
Season test product yield when
comparing to Full Season test
product.PLEASE NOTE - This practice
is not statistically valid and
should only be used as a performance
I'm interested in yields of test
plots that are close to me.
Why should I look at performance across
Yield results from local sources
demonstrate product performance for
the growing conditions within that
area. However, it is unlikely you
will have the same growing
conditions next year, likely
impacting product performance. Yield
results from multiple locations
across a wide geography demonstrate
product performance under a diverse
range of growing conditions.
Choosing a product that consistently
delivers above average performance
across a wide geography will improve
your odds of obtaining excellent
yields when growing conditions vary
from year to year.