Seed: A Real Treatment

When Josh Peters of Peters Crop Solu­tions, Aplington, IA, looks ahead, what does he see for the future of the seed industry and ag retailers? More pressure at the dealer level to treat seed faster and with more precision.

Several factors are driving the increased demand for treating seed from grower-customers, including a shifting spectrum of plant diseases and insects, new seed-applied crop protection products, volatile commodity markets, and last-minute crop planning, says Peters. An ever-increasing percentage of growers are pushing their cropping plans until the last minute, which is putting pressure on dealers to provide more on-demand seed treatment capabilities for their customers rather than pre-ordering treated seed from seed companies.

Instead of resisting the changes in the industry, though, Peters is meeting the challenges head-on and banking on new seed treatment equipment technology that is just now coming off the factory floor.

Primarily treating soybeans for clients, Peters has made the move to upgrade to a newer, more computerized seed treater to help keep ahead of what he describes as a rapidly changing industry.

While his older seed treater shouldered his business’s growing demands over the three years he’s offered on-demand seed treatment, Peters is anticipating the challenges ahead to require still more precision, speed, and volume.

“As new technology comes out, we foresee that we’ll be putting a lot of different chemicals on seed for different customers,” he says. “The flexibility of applying different chemicals is where we’ll have to build into eventually.”

Until a few years ago, Peters’ customer base didn’t regularly plant treated soybeans. Now a significant percentage treat soybean seed, and the trend is up.

“Now we’re seeing where everybody’s treating their seed,” says Peters, who upgraded to a new Gustafson RH-2000 machine for the upcoming 2010 season.

While that gradual shift to treating seed at the dealer level has created another revenue stream for Peters Crop Solutions, it has also been a great help in giving Peters’ grower-customers more flexibility in their planting decisions. The new seed treater, he says, provides computer print-outs that immediately show the grower the chemical that has been applied, as well as the rate.

Customer Flexibility

The idea of giving customers even more flexibility with seed treatment prompted Jeramy Slade, branch manager for Agriliance in Jonesville, LA, to also invest in a new seed treater. 

Slade says that after making the move to invest in a new seed treatment machine in March 2009, the dealership has created a whole new revenue stream by adding another valuable service for customers that saves growers time during the planting season.

“There’s just a lot of profit dollars in treating seed yourself instead of going to the seed company and waiting for it to get back,” says Slade, who says cotton and soybeans are the most popular seeds treated at their location. Corn and wheat are also treated at the facility. 

“In the past, you had to ship it to another location to get it treated,” he adds. “That took lots of time and fuel.”

By bringing the seed treatment activities closer to the grower at the dealer level, local growers now have the advantage of treating seed at a moment’s notice before heading into the field — giving them the luxury of time during a hectic planting season.

“Growers call me last minute before they head into the field and I’ll have their seed ready and treated before they get here,” Slade says.

Treating seed on-site opened the door to two avenues of profit for the dealership: One through the service itself and another through crop protection sales. Having a seed treater on-site also has the added benefit of fascinating customers, Slade says.

“A few [customers] come up and watch us treat the seed,” he says. “They seem pretty amazed with it.” 

Slade, who treats seed with a Gustafson RH-24, has seen a noticeable trend in the industry of treating seed on-site rather than pre-ordering from seed companies as other businesses adopt newer technology to become more competitive.

Gustafson, one of the largest brands of seed treatment equipment, reports that sales among small- and medium-sized dealers has grown substantially in recent years, attributing most of the growth to seed dealerships as they pursue revenue beyond seed sales.

More Profitable

Mark Belden, product manager with Gustafson brand equipment, Shakopee, MN, says high commodity prices have created more profitable opportunities at the dealer level as growers seek to protect their investment in seed with chemical treatment. Sales of the smaller-capacity treaters that handle 1,000 to 1,400 bushels per hour have held strong through 2009, he says, as smaller dealerships enter the seed treating market.

“As far as the product line, we’ve got everything from small treaters you can carry in your hand all the way to the huge commercial machines that handle 3,000 bushels per hour,” he says.

Dealers are also looking to expand beyond the corn market that has traditionally dominated the market, Belden adds. With the corn seed treating market nearly saturated, dealers now looking into other crops that have received less attention in the past. “The increase [in sales of seed treaters] has been the most acute in soybeans and wheat,” he says.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Seed/Biotech Stories
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Delivers Two New Winter Wheat Varieties To Eastern Corn Belt
August 6, 2014
Adding to its portfolio of AgriPro brand wheat varieties, Syngenta introduces SY 007 and SY 474 soft red winter wheat varieties. Read More
Seed/BiotechWater Optimized Seed Flowing Freely
April 1, 2014
As the demand for ag to diminish its water use while maintaining high yields and crop quality increases, three companies are leading the movement to grow more with less water. Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer Applies For Seed Treatment That Protects Against Sudden Death Syndrome
February 26, 2014
If approved, ILeVO seed treatment would be the first product to provide breakthrough protection for soybean seedlings from the soil borne pathogen Fusarium virguliforme, the fungus that causes SDS. Read More
Seed/BiotechSeed Still Central
November 1, 2013
Advancing genetics continue to make seed the crop variable that calls the shots for the season. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More
ManagementRetail Week: Precision survey, a technology acquisition…
March 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sflilgoj discuss recent travel, the upcoming precision adoption survey, and an unusual sighting at a Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Launching TerraGrow Soil Inoculant
March 20, 2015
TerraGrow is a blend of beneficial bacterial and fungal spores and nutrients carefully designed to promote healthier soil and crops. Read More
Winter Wheat
AdjuvantsMax Systems Debuts New Adjuvant NanoRevolution 2.0
March 18, 2015
Added to a tank mix of glyphosate at the conservative rate of two to four ounces per acre, NanoRevolution 2.0 has proven effective in killing resistant weed species that had already had up to two applications of the leading glyphosate product. Read More
Photo credit: United Soybean Board/the Soybean Checkoff
Seed/BiotechAgnition Launches Microbial Catalyst Seed Treatment
March 18, 2015
Agnition it has launched Commence for Soybeans, a microbial catalyst seed treatment for soybeans that stimulates microbial activity for healthier soil and a superior growth environment. Read More
4R Certified, Nutrient Stewardship Council,
StewardshipTyler Grain & Fertilizer Now 4R Certified
March 18, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Tyler Grain & Fertilizer Co. in Smithville, OH, has been added to Read More