Log on for seed data

Not sure about that seed company yield data you got in the mail? Then double-check it against a wealth of online resources. For 2001, the University of Illinois has compiled yield and other agronomic data on some 400 hybrids and 700 soybean varieties tested at a dozen sites around Illinois. Results are posted at www.cropsci.uiuc.edu/vt. Iowa State University updates its crop yield data at www.agron.iastate.edu/icia/YieldTesting3.html.

For nationwide yield data on corn and sorghum, the University of Nebraska has a collection of links to many other university yield trials, from Maryland to Minnesota. Check them out at www.unl.edu/agnicpls/yldcorn.html.

Independent research

For a different look at yield analysis, try www.agsci.com for the most recent corn and soybean yield data from Farmer's Independent Research of Seed Technologies (F.I.R.S.T.). This year F.I.R.S.T. conducted tests in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, southern Wisconsin and Minnesota, southeastern South Dakota, and eastern Nebraska. Seed companies pay a fee to have their hybrids tested, but you can view the results for free. Growers without Web access should contact F.I.R.S.T. NWBC, 14870 240th Ave., New Richland, MN, 507/327-1150.

Swath the curves

This GPS lightbar guidance system from Raven Industries joins the pack of new electronic devices that help operators run application swaths day or night — without overlap. The SwathSmart takes complex technology and makes it easy to use. Program in the endpoints of the first swath, and the system does the rest. Just follow the light display to stay on course. Removable cables allow you to move the system quickly from one machine to another. The SwathSmart accommodates contour and curve guidance, center pivot, row crop and double headlands. Prices range from $4,190 to $5,800. Contact Raven Industries, Box 5107, Sioux Falls, SD 57117, 800/243-5435, www.ravenind.com.

Drainage claculator

The University of Minnesota, in partnership with Prinsco, has developed a drainage calculator in slide-chart format. Side one of the calculator allows the user to compute the required pipe size for various pipe grades and drained acres. It also performs the reverse calculation, from pipe size/grade to drained acres. Side two of the calculator can be used to determine flow rate and determine whether minimum recommended flow velocities are achievable. Elevation change can be calculated based on percent grade and feet of fall. The calculator also includes tables for selecting drainage coefficients and estimating drainage pipe coil lengths based on the number of wraps in a pipe coil. You can purchase the calculator for $2.50 by calling the University of Minnesota Extension office at 800/876-8636. Ask for item number 07688.