Seed Care Success Stories: Hefty Seed And Monsanto BioAg
The land around Hurdsfield, ND, is rich and prime real estate for farming, say observers. In fact, according to Chad Weckerley, manager at the Hefty Seed location here, there is virtually no limit to types of crops that can be grown in this part of the state.
“Our experts say that this soil can be used to grow up to 40 different crops without too much trouble,” says Weckerley. “And although we still have lots of land devoted to growing crops such as flax and sunflowers, the majority of the growers here have been trending towards mostly wheat, corn and soybeans in recent years, with many of them double cropping winter wheat and soybeans.”
Given this agricultural tradition, it should come as no surprise that Hefty Seed Co. decided Hurdsfield would be a perfect place to establish an ag retail facility, which the company did back in 1993. Since that time, the company — and this facility — has continued to expand, with Hefty Seed ranking at No. 17 on the 2013 CropLife 100 list of the nation’s top ag retailers with sales of more than $100 million annually.
The outlet also has a long history of seed care, particularly when it comes to providing crop nutrients such as JumpStart from Novozymes, now part of the Monsanto Co’s BioAg Alliance. “JumpStart is a phosphorous inoculant that our growers just fell in love with it,” says Weckerley. “In fact, when we first started offering this product to our customers back in the early 2000s, we quickly became the No. 1 ag retailer for JumpStart sales in the entire U.S.”
A Crop Nutrition Boost
JumpStart (and its latest version, JumpStart LCO) is a phosphate solubilizing inoculant that combines Penicillium bilaii and LCO Promoter Technology. LCO stands for lipo-chitooligosaccharide, which is a molecule that allows plants to begin the nodulation process more effectively.
The reason for this popularity for JumpStart is simple, says Weckerley: Growers want more out of their crops. “When growers add JumpStart to their corn and wheat seed, it not only helps the plant feed in a more efficient way, it also improves the hardiness of the crop when it’s growing,” he says.
More recently, he adds, Hefty Seed growers have been utilizing another pair of Monsanto BioAg products to improve their seed care options. This includes QuickRoots for corn, which is a microbial seed inoculant for improving the availability of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, and TagTeam LCO, a soybean seed product that contains a rhizobia strain and Penicillium bilaii to release nutrients into the surrounding soil, making phosphorous more available to a growing plant.
Both products have proven very popular with Hefty Seed customers, says Weckerley, particularly TagTeam LCO. “The popularity of this product started with JumpStart and then Novozymes came out with a soil inoculant as part of the TagTeam LCO approach,” he says. “And that’s what our growers who are looking to add crop nutrients to their seedlings are really looking to accomplish at the end of the day.”