Seed Care Success Stories: Farmers Cooperative And USC
As far as providing exceptional service to its grower-customers, Farmers Cooperative (FC) based in Afton, IA, is second to none. “And seed treatments have been a big part of this,” says Kirk Luther, seed sales & marketing manager for FC.
For those who know the area FC does business in, this should come as no surprise. In the parts of Iowa where FC grower-customers have their farms, fields tend to have clay soils and tighter drainage than is found in other parts of the Midwest. While good for growing crops such as corn and soybeans, this always tends to provide a great environment for crop diseases and crop-munching insects to flourish as well.
“Traditionally, a lot of the seeds and seedlings planted in our area would suffer from disease or pest pressures,” says Luther. “That’s why so many of our customers were interested in seed treatments in the first place.”
For most growers, seed treatment is a no-brainer, he adds. “Seed is very valuable, and it’s important for the grower to protect his investment because seed cost isn’t cheap,” says Luther. “Actually, it probably ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 item in terms of cost from the inputs side of anything a grower will buy for his farm. So you have to protect that kind of investment, and for seed, that starts with seed treatment. Treating the seed is the best way to make sure you as the grower are getting good strong roots, which will protect your plant and the yields.”
The USC Connection
To handle its seed treatment equipment requirements, FC has had a long relationship with USC, LLC, and its line of products. “We’ve used USC seed treaters in our facility in Afton for a long, long time,” says Luther. “Three years ago, we built a new seed treatment facility in Osceola and equipped it with a LP2000 model treater, which can treat 2,000 pounds of soybean seed per minute. Next, we are planning to build a brand new building and facility at Mount Ayr that will feature all new conveyors and LPX2000 seed treaters supplied by USC.”
According to Luther, one of the major reasons FC has continued to work with USC to fulfill its seed treater needs is the level of technology available on these units. “Seed treaters in the past used to have dials on them that had to be adjusted each batch and mixing in multiple products required a lot of work,” he says. “But now, everything’s controlled by touchscreen, and mixing in as many as eight different products for seed treatment is very easy.”
And this versatility has become increasingly important as seed treatment options have expanded, he adds. “There are many more seed treatments available for growers than ever before,” says Luther. “There are biostimulants, inoculants and biologicals as well as the traditional fungicides and insecticides. With these many options, we thought it was very important for us to keep up on the latest seed treatment technology for growers. And that has meant working closely with USC.”