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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Producers need to pay close attention to those little tiny numbers at the bottom of research testing results.

Whether a producer is checking trial data to find a variety that yields better or looking at fertilizer trials or weed control trials, all results include the Least Significant Difference (LSD) values at the bottom of the chart.

Mark Torno, a marketing manager for Winfield Solutions notes the LSD number tells a producer how useful or how meaningful the trial is, determined from how many times the trial has been replicated.

Multiple trials are always better than single year trials and the higher the LSD percentage, the fewer trials have been conducted, he explained.

“With any cropping trial, whether it is a fertilizer trial or a hybrid trial, the higher the LSD number, the higher the error rate,” he said.

For example, an LSD of .01 or a 1 percent value is a larger trial and gives a producer more useful information than an LSD of .05 or a 5 percent value.

According to North Dakota State University, “If the yield of variety A exceeds variety B by more than the LSD value, you can conclude that under like environmental conditions, variety A is expected to significantly out-yield variety B.”

Because research dollars have been cut back at universities, private industry plots are able to fill in some of the gaps and conduct local trials that producers want and need.

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