The 2007 corn and soybean harvest is in the bin, and as growers know, it is not too soon to be thinking about seed selections for next year.

Kevin Coey, who coordinates the Farmers Independent Research of Seed Technologies (F.I.R.S.T.) Harvest testing program, says 2007 was a good harvest year. "Overall, the corn and soybean yields turned out very well," says Coey.

He reports that the harvest season started early, but was extended in October due to wet field conditions. "Corn yields were phenomenal in eastern Indiana and Ohio. Nebraska, western Iowa and South Dakota did have some difficult growing conditions," Coey summarizes. Iowa had a great soybean year, according to Coey.

The F.I.R.S.T. Harvest Reports are designed to provide real-world, independent data on corn and soybean yield performance. The F.I.R.S.T. seed-testing program was established by Agronomic Seed Consulting, Inc. (AgSCI) in 1997. Farmer members work with F.I.R.S.T. managers to generate independent seed product data.

F.I.R.S.T. plots are grown with the same crop inputs and management techniques the member uses. Each hybrid is tested three times in four-row strips; only the center two rows are used to determine yield. Tests are conducted on corn and soybean hybrids at plots throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

F.I.R.S.T. CORN PROGRESS REPORT
For 2007, the F.I.R.S.T. Report evaluated over 950 corn hybrids at 148 different sites, totaling more than 53,000 trials (strips or experimental units). On the soybean side, the F.I.R.S.T. Report evaluated over 11,052 yield measurements from 921 entries on 76 farms.

While the information collected is comprehensive, most importantly, it is practical and applicable to other Midwestern corn and soybean growers as they make their seed selections for 2008. All of this information is made available to farmers by The Corn And Soybean Digest with special sponsorship from Bayer CropScience. You can find all of the 2007 reports on the magazine's website.

Print copies of the 2007 F.I.R.S.T Report are also being mailed with The Corn And Soybean Digest magazine. The corn hybrids are being mailed with the November issue, while the soybean varieties will be included in the December issue.

New features to the reports for 2007 include:
* Some tests on ultra-early hybrids and hybrids without genetic resistance to corn rootworm from those with it.
* Data ranking the top hybrids by the gross revenue they generate rather than by yield alone.
* Sorting top hybrids by yield to bring the most productive products to the top of the list for easier evaluation of the reports.

For a complete list of all the products in the tests and for more details about how each test was conducted go to www.firstseedtests.com.

Look for the F.I.R.S.T. Harvest Reports again in 2008. Coey reports that there is interest in expanding the test locations, especially in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. "We know there is a need for more testing and information in some of these areas, and we are looking at getting that done," Coey concludes. He adds that survey information shows growers do use the data collected for their seed selection decisions. Again, for archives of this season's Harvest Report e-newsletters with yield results by region, visit cornandsoybeandigest.com/firstharverstreports

Once again, thank you to Bayer CropScience for sponsorship of this year's reports.