Comparing crop varieties: Start small, go slowly

    | April 8, 2013

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    In this week’s story from Cameroon, a farmer improves his yield and reduces his expenses by growing a new variety of beans. Our script of the week features a farmer who carefully compares a new variety of rice with the variety he currently grows.

    To learn more about its qualities, the farmer grows the new variety on small test plots for four years and keeps detailed records. As the script notes, it often takes several years to find out whether a new variety is well suited to your growing conditions. New varieties can yield well at first, but yields may drop over time or during poor weather. They might need expensive fertilizers to keep yields high, or may yield well but be less tasty or easy to cook. There are many things to consider.

    The message of the script is: When you’re thinking about planting a new variety, start small, go slowly, and keep detailed records.