What is variety trialing and why is it important?

Variety trialing is the process of growing and evaluating several different varieties to compare the distinct characteristics of each variety.  

Seed companies breed for new attributes, and it’s our job to test and evaluate those attributes for our growers. It’s their needs as well as the changing marketplace that define our selection. That’s why we grow new varieties and compare them to existing ones in order to solidify, diversify, and expand our seed selection. We are only considering varieties that are equal or better than the best we already carry.

Among the characteristics we observe are speed, productivity vigor, disease resistance, appearance, uniformity, and ease of growth. We want to find adaptable varieties that are tolerant of many growing conditions such as different soils, climate, and growing methods.

How is trialing different than farming?

We model our farm after current farming systems and practices. Our process is identical to farming in that we are still seeding, transplanting, cultivating, and harvesting; our timeline is just different.  

We want to know how long and how well varieties hold in the field to expand growers’ harvest windows and improve flexibility. We let crops grow long after our growers would normally harvest to observe and evaluate different characteristics.

Why does Osborne Seed value trialing?

Osborne Seed values trialing because it’s our goal to help growers be successful.

Trialing is the best way to get relevant information for us as individuals and as a company. We know how a crop grows because we’ve grown it. Hands on experience allows us to connect with our growers and customers on more than just an academic level; we’ve experienced the same potential ups and downs of growing certain varieties.

Trialing allows us to partner with our community of growers with on-farm trials. We have a network of breeders, producers, distributors and growers who all benefit from the information and partnerships gained from trialing.

Everyone we network with benefits from the variety trial evaluations we conduct. Growers have the option to get new and improved varieties. We benefit because we have the opportunity to serve growers with experiential knowledge, and breeders and producers know which varieties to move forward with.


Posted 31st August 2018 by Muriah Carlson