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

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

StewardshipAsmark Institute’s New Training Center Focused On…
October 31, 2014
The newly dedicated Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture will be used as a national training and education center for professionals in the ag input industry. Read More
StewardshipCTIC Tour Dives Deep Into Everglades
October 31, 2014
The most recent Conservation In Action Tour (CTIC) hit South Florida recently to tour the Everglades Agricultural Area. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More