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Understanding small grain yield trials

The University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University conduct yield trials to evaluate new and existing small grain varieties and compare performance and agronomic characteristics. These annual trials develop performance data over a number of locations and years, which are also referred to as environments. 

Factors affecting a variety’s performance

Not only do varieties have different yields in different environments, but yield relative to other varieties also may vary depending on the environment. This yield difference is defined as a genotype by environment interaction.

Understanding how genotypes perform in different environments is important for selecting a variety that’ll perform best for you year in and year out. A variety’s performance in different environments can be mathematically described as:

Performance = Variety + Variety by environmental interaction + Environment


Jochum Wiersma, Extension agronomist and Joel Ransom, Extension agronomist, North Dakota State University

Reviewed in 2018

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