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Interpreting least significant difference in yield data

For studying yield data from university, seed companies or third party sources, always look for the LSD value or Least Significant Difference at the bottom of the data set or Table. What does it mean and how to use it in evaluating data?

• LSD value measures variability in the test which may be caused by soil types, population density variations, micro-environment or experimental errors.

• LSD or Least Significant Difference means that the yields must be greater than the LSD value between any two hybrids, varieties or treatments to be considered significant, to make sure the differences are real and not because of chance or due to soil variability.

• Uniform tests have smaller LSD values and are more reliable. That’s why the Agronomists and Researchers try hard to look for uniform ground for conducting the tests. The differences of 10-20 bushels in high yielding corn test plots are generally not significant and are within the LSD value and it is a mistake to make a big deal because a hybrid tops in one test plot.

• LSD values in the university tests are generally reported at (0.1) or 10% level. It means that there is a 90% chance that any one of the hybrids or varieties within the LSD value for the test could be on the top. Some test plot data are now being reported with LSD at (0.25) or 75% level, perhaps to be more inclusive.

• Everyone likes to be on the top for the “bragging” rights; however, a hybrid on op in one test may be in the middle in the next test. So, don’t worry about the top hybrid in the test but look for the hybrids which are consistently among the top tier in several locations in different test plots.

• The Seed Consultants Sales Reps can help you in selecting corn hybrids and soybean varieties which have shown consistent performance in various tests and in previous years.

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One comment

  1. My question is why the least significance difference

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