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The annual publication of the results of the small grain variety tests conducted at the South Dakota Experiment Station has become one of the accepted services provided by the Institution to the state's Agriculture, earlier pamphlets in this series have developed the reasons and aims of this testing program. The program is a continuous one, testing the varieties of the past against those of the present, and those of the immediate future. If such a program is to be meaningful, the information it furnishes must reach the farmer through the channels of agricultural extension. The user of the information must be able to interpret the data within the limits of its accuracy, and the conditions of the environment under which the yields were secured. All information is subject to error. The yield trials here reported were run in ways which permitted estimates of these errors. In a single plot test, the errors of estimate are inseparable from the yields. Information like this is also subject to limitations of season and location. Much of South Dakota, suffered from drought in 1956, which, as far as small grain went, was fully as severe as the mid-thirties. Yields at all locations in the central area were reduced to failure levels. These conditions do occur in the state, but they do not occur so frequently as to make them the average, or even most likely condition. It is necessary, therefore, to evaluate a drought like 1956, or a very favorable year like 1951, in terms of the average condition. Some changes have been made in the style of this year's Progress Report, largely to facilitate compilation, and to permit uniform paging. The yields reported are those of the current year, and averages for the five year period 1952-56 and in some cases, the three year period 1954-56. The authors believe that ia state with a climate as variable as that of the Great Plains, five years should be a minimum period for the proper evaluation of a variety. It is recognized, however, that sometimes evaluation must be made before a year period is completed. Then the three-year average should be used.

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Agricultural Experiment Station, South Dakota State College