Seed World

Consistency or Wow: Which Will You Place Your Bets On? 

In the more than 290 trial plots we run each year, we sometimes see yield results that would wow the most experienced farmer: yield results from a trait or treatment that sometimes show a 10-, 20-, even 30-bushel benefit over non-treated comparables. How excited do I get? Frankly, not at all. Why? Because there is much more to the story. Far more important than ‘wow’ is consistency. What excites me is seeing consistent performance and reliable improvement year after year across multiple trials.

Every farmer knows that the only thing reliable about growing conditions from year to year is their unreliability. Over-wet, painfully dry, sweltering hot and unseasonably cold are just the start: depending on the year, crops also have to contend with changeable seeding dates, wild weather events, damaging disease, bushel-robbing bugs, and more. 

Because each season is so different, a seed product’s success in one year is just a snapshot. What matters a whole lot more is whether that product achieves success across geographies, growing conditions and growing years. Find me a product that delivers year after year after year, and that’s when you’ll see me excited. 

Here’s why:

Each year’s different growing conditions and challenges put pressure on different aspects of a seed product. One year it might be the insecticide that needs to do more heavy lifting; the next year it’s the fungicide. I’m regularly asked, “How much yield benefit will the fungicide deliver?” That entirely depends on the year: a fungicide’s benefits might be worth two bushels of benefit one year, four bushels the next, then no benefit at all the third year. The goal is to have a full package of germplasm, traits and protection that together support yield and mitigate the whole spectrum of potential issues to deliver consistent yield benefit.

That’s why I’m so excited about Bayer’s new Acceleron N314 corn. When we analyzed the yield data from over 290 trial sites grown in multiple states across four trial years, Acceleron N314 corn delivered an average year-over-year continuous improvement in yield of 4.8 bushels. Better every year, across geographies, across growing conditions: that’s the kind of consistency that puts dollars in the bank.