You are likely asked for next year’s seed order many times before harvest. In that case, one of the first decisions you will likely make using your yield data is which numbers to plant the following year.

Seed plots serve as a way to visually see new and current hybrids, making you knee deep in plot results and “percent of wins” data.  But in most cases, your own results and experiences will trump plot books and seed guides.

The basic idea of a plot is to test the genetic potential of a hybrid or variety in a growing environment where other variables are controlled and non-yield limiting. The results are uniform, well-drained, fertile plots that frequently don’t resemble the diverse environments that you farm. Because of that, your own data is a great starting place.

As you spend time analyzing your data, you will start to understand that sometimes tables of different varieties are “apples to oranges” comparisons, creating the need to dig deeper. For example, by looking at this Yield by Hybrid chart, a grower may think that the Red hybrid was the clear winner. However, if they dig deeper into the data, such as analyzing yield by hybrid by soil type, like in the bar chart, they will notice the Red hybrid was not the best when it was in the Alda soil type.

There are other factors you can find when digging through data to make fair comparisons. Consider why one hybrid did better than another. The reality is that some hybrids get the benefit of being in the best possible situation on the best ground, and some get the worst. Strive to identify and more accurately place your genetics. For example, place the racehorse numbers in the ideal environment and the defensive numbers in less than ideal environments.

The key is to never stop digging for the answer to “why?” It is easy in all data analysis to have “apples to oranges” comparisons and take data at surface value, but the key to good analysis is to keep digging deeper and deeper to get fair comparisons. Thus creating the most educated and profitable agronomic decisions. 

Got data?

  1. Review your hybrids and varieties you have chosen for 2014, using your past yield, soil type, fertility and other agronomic data to rethink the location of each product.
  2. Ask your trusted agronomic advisors what he or she has seen with products in varying growing environments. Pick their brains to dig deeper and ask “why?”