Southern Spotlight: Facts, Not Flash

James Banahan

James Banahan

Anyone else getting tired of political ads?  The politician funding the ad is always the best candidate, and their opponent the worst—the one a clear and obvious winner, the other a total loser.  No ad ever offers that, “Yeah this guy is good, but that guy isn’t too shabby either”, or that “This dude actually isn’t so hot, but we’re going to distract you by picking on that other dude.”

Our industry, sometimes, isn’t so different.  I talked last week about seeing past the flashiness of a slick marketing scheme which is a not-so-distant cousin of the misdirection we see in some political ads.  Now the time of plot data is upon us, which is when the agricultural industry most resembles a political race.

Here’s what’s going to happen: soon, you’ll find yourself totally inundated with plot data.  Monsanto, Pioneer, Dow, university trials, neighbor Joe, and your cousin’s college roommate’s nephew will all pile it on you to prove how this hybrid outperformed that other one or how this company beats the snot out of that other company and on and on.  Invariably whichever company is publishing the data—it was their hybrid that won.

Have you ever stepped back to ask how this can be?  How can every company win every plot?  For every winner, there’s a loser, right?  So where are they?

Well, they’re there alright, just buried in the data.  Deep too, so no one will find them.

What happens often is that a company will plant six or so of their own hybrids in a plot versus just one hybrid from another company.  That’s six against one—otherwise known as an unfair fight.  The company in question will then report only on their hybrids that outperform the competitors and say little to nothing about the hybrids that underperformed.  It makes it so that sometimes, plot data isn’t even comparing apples to apples.  They report that hybrid A yielded five more bushels per acre than hybrid B, but what they don’t highlight is that perhaps hybrid B takes longer to reach relative maturity.  This is a key piece of information and makes the hybrids ultimately very different.

Companies commit this misdirection in their marketing quite often.  For example, currently, a certain major seed corn producing company is touting a 2.99% fixed interest rate on seed corn purchases.  They’re billing it as an exclusive offer.  But it’s not.  They might be the only company offering such an avenue, but in reality, any grower is eligible to get the same 2.99% rate.

(If you’re looking for a truly unique financing option, CVA is offering 0% until next November.  It’s only available for brands and products that we sell, but when our products match your needs, it is a tough deal to beat.  Cash discounts are also available through November 20th.)

In the end, this isn’t to say that you should ignore all the marketing and plot data that comes your way.  These things actually do provide you with some very useful information, so long as you’re a thoughtful consumer of it.  See past the sales pitch—past the brand building—and look at the facts.  There are some good hybrids out there.  There are, in fact, some hybrids that are ideal for your operation.  Finding these is mission #1, and you’ll find them in the facts, not in the flash.