American Crystal Official Variety Trials
Bill Niehaus, Official Trial Manager, Beet Seed
Official Variety Trials have been planted each spring since 1973 with the mission to provide unbiased information to direct seed development and provide the best varieties for American Crystal Sugar Company (ACSC) growers. The 2016 Official Variety Trials are now in the process of being planted. Most of the trials will be planted between April 20 and May 10 during the peak planting season for the ACSC Shareholders. During the planting season, ACSC crews will plant 103 acres in 21 fields with our 12-row GPS controlled precision research vacuum planters. The OVT staff will plant the equivalent of 19,000 2-row yield trials 50 ft. long and 10,000 2-row disease nursery plots 17 ft. long. The planter plants six 2-row plots at a time with excess seed removed and new seed placed in the planter units at the end of each plot.
About 12,000 of the yield trial plots are for determining if varieties meet approval criteria with the remaining plots for proprietary research involving early generation experimental varieties and preliminary seed treatment evaluations.
Seed for the Official Trials is delivered to a seed coding agent in mid-March who places the seed into a plain bag labeled only with a code number. The OVT staff places 385 seeds into an individual coin envelope for each yield trial plot, arranges the envelopes into the proper randomized sequence for planting and begins planting about one month after receiving the seed.
Plots are treated as uniformly as possible with disease nursery ratings collected starting in July and yield trials harvest commencing in early Sept. Many steps are involved prior to data release to the growers in November, but the process all starts with seed preparation and planting.