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FIRST Newsletter | Oct-Nov 2023

8-Nov-2023 | Issue 28 |

In This Issue

  • Harvest Progress Report

  • FIRST Management Update

  • Interactive Weather Graphics

2023 Harvest Progress

FIRST is about 87% finished for the 2023 harvest with 40 locations to report as of this writing. The majority of plots remaining are corn trials around the program, with 9 bean plots to go.

Yields in Iowa have been better than expected, particularly in southern Iowa. FIRST Manager Randy Meinsma noted that most farmers are amazed at the yield numbers considering the dry weather. Illinois saw tremendous recovery from the early-season drought there. However, a wet spring was followed by very dry conditions in Minnesota, but so far there are still decent yields and good plot data. South Dakota trials also experienced a good deal of drought stress, with the outstanding plot so far at Jefferson, SD.

One of the more difficult areas is Michigan, where it was bone-dry post planting, with emergence issues around the plots. In northern Indiana and Ohio, the full-season corn came into October measuring high in moisture and has been slow to dry down. At this writing, harvest in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska is finished. So far on the season, corn and soybean yield reports have been published within 1.2 days of harvest on average.

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2023 Farmer Thanks Facebook Post

Above -- John and Mark Querna with Keith and Brian Schrader at their Nerstrand, MN soybean plot on Oct 23 2023. See the Harvest Reports for these plots in the MNSC and MNSOCV MNSOCV regions.

If you host a FIRST plot, we want to thank you for all you do to help bring yield data to farmers throughout the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

We thanked our farmer members on Facebook recently, and had a tremendous response from the community there. Clearly many people wanted to add their thanks to the host farmers who share their fields and operations with us. Your help is valued not just by FIRST, but by the wider audience that uses the yield reports.


FIRST founder Kevin Coey retiring

Farmers’ Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) independent variety trials are announcing the retirement of owner Kevin Coey from active management of the program. Coey has spent 38 years working in the seed industry. Coey said, “It is great to start playing the role of advisor in the group, though I plan to stay involved particularly with soybean research”. He is handing off the business management to a three-member executive board of active FIRST research managers. The executive board will be involved with business decisions needed through the year, working with all FIRST managers for broader decisions. Program Manager Jessica Prenger Bhalerao continues to handle day to day operations for the trials, including data and information technology, publications and promotion. 

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Kevin Coey, FIRST trials founder and owner

North Iowa FIRST Opportunity

FIRST is hiring Put your agronomy skills to use as a FIRST Manager in our Iowa north central regions. This unique employment opportunity seeks an individual with experience in agronomy research and an interest in independent business ownership to conduct high quality corn and soybean field trials on behalf of FIRST, LLC in north central Iowa. Our team is willing to train the right candidate. Area of focus will be 19 counties of the IANC corn region in addition to 26 counties of the IANO and IANC soybean regions. This is a great opportunity to work independently while becoming part of a well-supported team of field trial professionals servicing the demand for independent and unbiased yield trials across the Midwest. For more information, please contact Corey Rozenboom,

View Interactive Weather Graphs for each plot location

FIRST Interactive Weather graphic

You can view the weather graphic that FIRST includes in each Harvest Report in an interactive format on the Reports webpages, Scroll down the page, and click on View Weather Graph in each location to see rainfall events and totals for the season. Note: this is a large-screen desktop or laptop feature.

Take these polls: What do you think of the updates to

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Can you find the yield information you are looking for?
No - I liked the old website
Sometimes - parts of it are useful
Yes - it's working well
Which type of trials results page is most useful for you?
INTERACTIVE PRODUCTS pages - results for each product in trials
INTERACTIVE REPORTS pages - map of FIRST plots and report links
ARCHIVE - listing of reports per crop and state
NONE of these are what I'm looking for. [Email questions to:]
What could be improved on
Speed - slow load
Page rendering - difficult to click or scroll on pages
Size - difficulty reading or viewing text or images
Organization - hard to find information
No issues
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