Shawn Conley, State Soybean and Small Grains Specialist
The Wisconsin oat and barley performance trials are conducted each year to serve Wisconsin growers. Trials include released varieties, experimental lines from Wisconsin and Midwestern states, and lines from private companies. The main objective of these trials is to obtain data on how varieties perform in different locations and years. Growers can use this data to choose the best varieties to plant in their area. Breeders use this information to decide whether to release a new variety and to select parents to make new crosses. The best varieties for yield performance, disease resistance and quality are entered into the Wisconsin Certification Program. As new varieties are released to the public, older varieties with inferior qualities are removed from the recommended list and eventually dropped from the certified list as seed production declines. Additionally, varieties that perform well from other states may be recommended and/or certified in Wisconsin. Occasionally varieties are certified without being recommended to Wisconsin growers. These varieties may include commercial varieties developed by private seed companies or varieties where there is a substantial market for Wisconsin-produced seed. Thus, in Wisconsin, recommendation and certification are different things. Recommended varieties are those with superior in-state production performance.