Anecdotal reports of yield help gauge what's happening in an area. You'll find such reports here, especially early in the season, to help gauge what to expect form your own crop if it was grown under a similar environment. As help for determining which hybrids to buy next year for your farm, anecdotal reports belong in file 13, the large, circular file in your office - the wastebasket.
Yield reports from companies will soon stuff your mailbox, be handed to you be a salesman or maybe be left in your office door. Look at company yield plots carefully. If they included competitors, was it the competitor's top hybrids, or just middle-of-the -road hybrids so they could say they competed against that company?
Were plots you see data from replicated? Were the hybrids repeated? Or were they simply strip trials? If they were strip trials, was a checker hybrid used and corrections made back to the checker hybrid?
Were results corrected back to 15.5% moisture? Most are today, but it doesn't hurt to check and make sure?
What is the cost for 2011? You want high yield potential and quality seed, but cost must be a factor at some point. Be wary of answers such as 'will be comparable to our competitors.' That basically means yields haven't been decided yet by that company
How many different locations were included in reports? Were some hybrids in similar plots for more than one year? You need this information to know if the hybrid can perform well in a year like thus one.
Look for unbiased plot results. Tell the seedsman you're waiting to see how his hybrid did in university plots. That information should be available soon from Purdue University Extension. If it's not in any of these plots, press him to find out why it wasn't.
Look at more than just yield in any reports you examine. How well did the hybrid respond to fungicides? Ask which fungicides were sprayed, and how they were applied.
Does the hybrid have any glaring holes? If so, the salesman should be honest enough to tell you what it is. Maybe it's susceptible to root rot, or else one of the foliar diseases.
Don't be fooled by gimmicks. Sort through discount programs carefully. Find the best deal for you.