Research

Organic Test Plot Research

Blue River Hybrids continually develops new hybrids that set the bar in organic seed performance for you—the organic farmer. Reliable performance starts with the seed and the correct set of genetic tools to yield optimal results. We emphasize genetic traits of particular importance in organic farming systems: insect and disease resistance, weed tolerance, and responsiveness to soil conditions and climatic stressors.

Breeding

We rely on the time honored tradition of selective breeding, where we identify and breed plants with desirable traits. In any given year, our highly trained breeders consider 5,000 new genotypes and sow upwards of five million plants. We sow, cultivate, and harvest against rigorous quality control procedures, and use specialized equipment to minimize human error and ensure accuracy.

Testing

From these initial results, Blue River Hybrids selects five to ten percent of the best new genotypes and develops 500 new hybrids, about one-fifth of which make it into our extensive on-farm trialing network.

In the end, Blue River Hybrids selects only those hybrids that perform reliably and consistently in organic farming systems.

During any given year, we test current, new, and experimental hybrids and varieties at over 100 locations across the United States. For the 2011 growing season, Blue River Hybrids is funding research for the following:

  • Forage sorghum testing in Texas
  • Silage use for organic corn in Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, and Iowa
  • Field testing 50 varieties of soybeans for organic suitability in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin
  • Field testing over 100 experimential and commercial hybrids in replicated plots at locations in the following states: IA, NE, SD, MN, WI, MO, MI, NY, PA, OH, IN, IL, TX, CA, and NC.

Public-Private Collaborations

Blue River Hybrids recognizes the importance of public programs in advancing the needs and priorities of organic farmers. We regularly donate or discount seed to selected universities, colleges, and non-profits. In addition, we have participated in public- private collaborations with Ohio State University, Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), Rodale Institute, and SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education).