As the year comes to a close, many farmers already have begun planning for 2020. A major item on the planning list is variety selection for the 2020 crop. Variety can be one of the most crucial factors in determining yield and careful thought should be put in to determining what seed to plant on what acre.

The largest local variety trial program in the state of Kentucky is the University of Kentucky Corn and Soybean Variety Trials. This year, varieties from several companies who market seed corn in the state are compared at 5 different test sites. The test includes hybrids in the early, medium and late maturities and a white corn test.

Hybrids that performed well in the summary (all locations) have the best chance of performing well next year. If you are determined to evaluate a single location, then identify hybrids that did well at both a single location and in the State Summary. Producers also should take their research a step further and find varieties that did well in the UK test and company plots.

Another local data set that closely should be looked at is the Hardin County Corn and Soybean Variety Trials, which are published and available at the Hardin County Extension Service and on the extension service website.

When looking through this data, producers also should note previous year’s results. Most trial reports list 2- and 3-year averages if those varieties have been entered before. Varieties that yielded well in both 2018 and 2019, relative to the rest of the trial, especially should be noted as those varieties are more likely to perform well under a wide range of environmental conditions.

Industry data with agronomic traits can especially be useful in determining what varieties to plant in what situations. Varieties with good stress and drought tolerance should be chosen for fields with shallow or less productive soils. Disease ratings also should be looked at, especially if you are in a situation where fungicide applications are not desired, or planting continuous corn or soybean.

Results from the 2019 Uni­versity of Kentucky Corn Variety Trial are available at bit.ly/3815TFu, and the 2019 University of Kentucky Soybean Variety Trial Results at bit.ly/37YjPQz, or a hard copy can be picked up at the Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service. For more information on variety selection, contact the extension service at 270-765-4121.

Holiday Closing Reminder. Just a reminder, the Hardin County Extension Service is closed for Christmas from Monday, Dec. 23 until Thursday, Jan 2, 2019. The entire office staff would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.

Matt Adams is a Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.