The key to selecting good hybrids for your farm and the right match for your soils is to have as much information about the hybrid you are considering as possible. Dave Nanda says it is good to look at as much data as possible every year, but especially this year, since the summer was so dry and hot in many locations.
Nanda, an independent crops consultant and director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Inc., says the best advice is to seek data from multiple trials over multiple years. If multi-year data is not available, try to get data from a wide variety of trials spread over enough areas that the growing and environmental conditions were different.
Just because a hybrid was your top yielder in a stressful year doesn't mean it will be your best yielder in a good year. Try to find where the hybrid was tested against other numbers you know in a good environment. That data should be out there. Some places with plots received rain. You want to know how it can perform vs. the competition when conditions are good, as well as how it does when conditions are extreme.
The same goes for sorting through data on any kind of test this year on farming practices, seed treatments or any product. And determine whether the results you are looking at are from a replicated plot, or are they really one-strip demonstration trials. Also, learn what you can about the plot. Were soil types uniform across the field or did they vary enough that hybrids planted on one side of the field have a built-in advantage over hybrids planted on the other side of the field?
You don't need to throw out all the data from 2012, except for perhaps the very worst locations where yields were ridiculously low, Nanda says. Just ask questions and make sure you understand how the work was done for whatever plot you're considering.