Earlier this fall, Yield Pop struck a deal with F.I.R.S.T. to publish around 150,000 corn and soybean trial results online, allowing farmers and other interested parties an easy way to filter F.I.R.S.T. trial results by location and various specific agronomic factors to see what products might work best on their farms.
A few thousand users have run searches already, so Yield Pop co-founder Alex Wimbush got busy analyzing what was being searched. Some of his findings were intuitive – corn seed brands and traits with big market share tended to get more views on Yield Pop, for example. But there was at least one surprise in the mix – individual hybrids that yielded highest in F.I.R.S.T. trials didn’t always rise to the top of "share of view" on the website.
"In other words, people weren’t always looking most at products that perform best," he says. "Within the top 100 viewed, there are clearly some dogs that get a lot of views, and some hidden gems with relatively few views despite strong and consistent performance."
Wimbush suggests three possible reasons great seed could get undervalued in the search results.
1. Community buzz. Don’t discount word-of-mouth excitement on online forums or at the local co-op, Wimbush says. This might lead people to hear about a variety and investigate it without ultimately purchasing it, he says.
2. Seed company promotions and marketing. "The impact of seed company promotions and marketing is perhaps the biggest factor of performance disparity," Wimbush says. Inventory and margins can skew how seed companies promote certain hybrids, he says.
3. Potential biases in his analysis. Wimbush can’t discount the impact of analyzing the entire data set versus breaking it down into specific geographies. As-is, his analysis pits products with narrow adaptation against products with wide adaptation. "For example, say one of these narrowly adapted products happens to be the best in northern Illinois," he says. "It will get a huge share-of-view for that area. But if we look at the product at a more macro level, it may still have a huge share-of-view, even if its performance suffers as we look at it in geographies where it’s less adaptable."
You can find a more thorough breakdown of Wimbush's findings here.