This is the time of year that corn hybrids, like football coaches, tend to get fired (or perhaps renewed for another season). Everybody is looking for the hot new hybrid that will deliver better results.

“Genetic diversity is important, but yield is the most important factor to consider when choosing hybrids,” said Mark Licht, Iowa State University Extension cropping systems specialist. “The best production strategies will not result in high yields if you don’t choose high-yielding hybrids.”

But if you put the wrong hybrid in the wrong environment, you’re likely to end up with poor results, said Mark Miller, a Syngenta agronomist. He demonstrated the effects of population and nitrogen stress at a Syngenta “Grow More Experience” demonstration plot near Slater.

For example, putting a...