In 2011, the WI Soybean Research Program published an article in the journal Crop Management entitled: "Optimal Soybean Maturity Groups for Seed Yield and Quality in WI" (Furseth et al, 2011). In this data set we looked at 893 varieties across 6 growing seasons (2004-2009) and three production regions in WI . Within each region we identified the optimal maturity group range for maximum yield. Those were 2.6-2.9, 2.1-2.4, and 2.0-2.2 for our southern, central and north central regions respectively. After I make this provocative statement this is usually where the audience either falls asleep, starts texting their neighbor about the lame and inept speaker (me), or uses the restroom and fails to hear as the great Paul Harvey would say ......the rest of the story.
Within each figure below you will also notice a maroon line directly below the black yield regression slope. This maroon line indicates the range of maturity groups that lie within 10% of maximum yield. These figures suggest that regardless of growing region in WI growers can select a variety that is almost one full maturity group earlier than the optimal maturity group range for maximum yield and still be within 10% of maximum yield.
These data further support Joe Lauer's assertion that "Every hybrid (or in our case cultivar or variety) must stand on its own" (Happy Thanksgiving JGL, you were positively quoted in a soybean article). In our recently released 2014 WI Soybean Variety Test Results book the maturity group range that included a starred variety (starred varieties do not differ from the highest yield variety in that test) was 1.9-2.8, 1.1-2.4,and 0.9-2.0 in our southern, central and north central regions respectively. This amplifies my assertion that the "relative" maturity group rating is trumped by individual cultivar genetic yield potential.
As seed decisions are made for 2015, it is fine to keep the relative maturity rating on your check list, just don't have it near the top!
Table 1. Calendar date for reaching R5 (beginning seed fill) and R7 (beginning maturity) growth stage (G.S.) by planting date and maturity group (M.G.) for the 2014 growing season at Hancock WI.
|Timing of G.S. Initiation|
Furseth, B. J., Zhao, Y., Conley, S. P., Martinka, M., and Gaska, J. 2011. Optimum Soybean Maturity Groups for Seed Yield and Quality in Wisconsin. Crop Management. Online. Crop Management doi:10.1094/CM-2011-0622-01-RS.