Seed Could Soar

Soybean Seed

As market conditions and input costs evolve for the 2011 season, both dealers and seed companies feel there is reason for optimism. “The corn market is strong, the cost of inputs has been reasonable, and I think growers in Illinois have a tremendous opportunity,” says Tim McArdle, executive vice president, Brandt Consolidated Inc., Springfield, IL. For example, he is seeing better seed prices. “Seed corn prices were a little bit flatter this past season, and it appears that in most cases, most of the major vendors have actually decreased the price on some of their products for the coming year.”

Truly that’s good news for retailers who may wrestle every year with grower complaints about rising seed costs. “We always have price trouble,” says Scot Sparks, seed division manager at Hintzsche Fertilizer, Maple Park, IL. “I remember when we used to raise seed prices $1 a year, and it was like you were trying to take their first-born child away. But growers are willing to go on the trip with you when you describe what the hybrid can do, what these traits will help with, and why they should put it in this field.”

McArdle points out that “as you get more and more of the crop protection benefits in the seed, that costs more. But if you compare that to the purchase of the crop protection, it’s pretty much a wash.”

He would call putting any “ceiling” on the price growers are willing to pay strictly hypothetical. “But what is not hypothetical is the value paid for value received,” he says, especially as seed companies come out with more powerful traits that provide better control, new types of control, or output traits such as drought tolerance or nutrition enhancement. “If the performance is there, the yield potential is there, then the grower is going to be willing to pay for that as long as it is a reasonable amount,” he says.

Tailoring Seed Advice

In seed there are plenty of changes each year, with new varieties and traits to track. Brandt spends a great deal of time educating its people on these releases and counts on its sales force to then meet with growers one on one to explain them.

Craig Page, agronomy manager at Husker Coop, Columbus, NE, also believes this individual attention is key. “We try very hard to put the right hybrid on the right acre,” he says, and feels his team has been able to do that well. “We’ve been able to sell the value of traits because these are things that keep our growers profitable.”

To aid seed sales, Husker has offered a few buyer incentive programs tied to the company’s site-specific program, which includes grid sampling and VRT applications.

The coop has found its seed recommendation services one of its most “underutilized assets” says Clete Kam­rath, agronomist. He feels personal customer contact is especially important if growers may simply be relying on trial plot data for decision-making. Plot-winning hybrids are not always the best fit in every grower’s acres, and it’s very important to match soil types and fertility with hybrids, he says.

Brandt has added another sales tool for the coming season. The company manages many seed plots each year, creating lots of community data to draw from in making buying recommendations. For 2011 staff have drawn all this performance data together and created a Community Seed Trials section on the Brandt Web site. Users simply click on a trial location and see the performance data for all seed planted there.

Seed Companies’ Take

Seed companies are excited about what they have to offer for 2011. (And they are making available data on how well their traited hybrids/varieties did in the 2010 season, especially in comparison to competitors’ products.)

Monsanto‘s Mike Stern, vice president of U.S. commercial row crops, says the company is offering retailers a corn and soybean portfolio designed to address farmers’ specific agronomic needs and deliver value in their region. In fact, in recent concentrated efforts to get seed feedback from customers, Monsanto found that growers want more trait and germplasm options across all geographies. “We took their comments to heart as we priced and delivered more options in our seeds and traits,” says Stern. “So far, response to our 2011 pricing and product approach has been very positive.”

Specifically, Monsanto is expanding hybrids in the Genuity SmartStax, Genuity VT Triple PRO, and Genuity VT Double PRO lines. In soybeans, growers also have more varieties to choose from (especially in the Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield line) as well as have the choice of whether or not to treat their soybeans with Acceleron seed treatment products.

Mycogen will be doubling the number of its SmartStax corn hybrids available — hybrids Chris Garvey, general manager of Mycogen Seeds, says bring the broadest spectrum of insect protection, 5% reduced refuge in the Corn Belt, and the latest genetics. In soybeans, the company will be focusing on its Roundup Ready 2 Yield line.

In answer to concerns about pricing, Garvey points to the company’s tools for dealers, including early prepayment options, grower financing through Rabo AgriFinance, and its Grower Rewards program.

Syngenta Seeds has introduced 140 new corn hybrids, including 41 featuring the Agrisure Viptera 3111 trait stack — which combines the Agrisure Viptera trait with the Agrisure 3000GT triple stack. Eric Boersma, corn portfolio manager, reports it not only controls 14 pests but also improves grain quality. “With the breadth of our expanded corn portolio, growers will be able to find the hybrids they’re seeking to thrive in their fields and maximize yields,” he says.

Syngenta will also be selling all NK brand soybeans in EZ-Count 140,000 seed units rather than 50-pound units. The approach offers growers a more accurate, convenient, and equitable way to order seed, says the company.

All the seed companies we talked with are committed to providing assistance when needed this season.

“Mycogen Seeds continues to provide retailer support with local, experienced seed partners to help identify prospects and position products with customers,” says Garvey. The company also recently revised its website, making it easier to find important product and contact information.

In June, Monsanto published its “DeKalb and Asgrow Seed Resource Guide” for 2011. The company provides season-long support in the form of local expertise via its territory agronomists; in-field product training at Genuity Technology Showcases; Knowledge Transfer brochures and Technology Bulletins (for current agronomic conditions that can affect crops); and third-party conference calls that provide up-to-date information on topics ranging from insect pressure to ways to help maximize yield.

At harvest the company strives to make available hybrid and variety results in specific geographies as well as across the U.S. — all historically posted on www.dekalbandasgrow.com.

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 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
Seed/BiotechDow Details Enlist Trait Stacking Standards
January 30, 2015
Dow says it will allow the Enlist trait to be stacked with advanced glyphosate traits only, and will not allow stacking with the first generation of the Roundup Ready trait. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: IFCA’s Jean Payne on Illinois wat…
January 30, 2015
Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares insight from the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association conference including a chat with IFCA President Jean Read More
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More
Crop InputsNew Syngenta Herbicide Approved In Soybeans, Sunflowers
January 20, 2015
Syngenta will sell BroadAxe XC herbicide in 2015 for use on soybeans, sunflowers and dry peas Read More