By Brian Hefty
THE GOOD NEWS (in terms of seed supply):
- Most seed companies increased seed production for corn and soybeans this year
- Seed companies realized by late June that seed production could be off this summer, so many have already secured acres for winter production
- Most seed corn produced in the U.S. is under irrigation, so yields should still be decent
- Since it was so dry this summer, seed corn should have had fewer disease issues, meaning seed quality could be pretty good
- If we get some late rains, we could still see good soybean yields and quality
- Wheat and early spring crops yielded well, and quality was good in many areas of the country
THE BAD NEWS (in terms of seed supply):
- Because of high corn and soybean prices, I expect acres to be up on both crops in the U.S. next year, especially in the northern part of the country, meaning all varieties (especially early numbers) could be tight
- For the same reason, I expect planting populations to increase slightly
- Drought has had an impact on many crops this year in terms of both yield and seed quality
- There was almost no carryover seed after this spring…warehouses are pretty empty right now
- While there will be a lot of South American production, that seed always gets here later than we would like. It is certainly possible you may be done planting next spring before the seed you want arrives at your door.
- Order early
- Pay early
- Take seed corn as early as you possibly can
- Make sure your seed dealer has your seed secured as quickly as possible. For example, even though you will want your soybean or wheat seed treated when you pick it up, make sure your dealer gets that seed on hand this fall.
- Be fussy. I’m not saying be difficult to work with, because for the most part your seed dealer has little control of the supply and quality of the seed he gets. However, what we do advise you to do is not to take substitutions unless you know those substitutions will work for you. For example, if you want to raise corn on corn you HAVE TO have corn varieties with good Goss’s Wilt tolerance. If you have high pH soil, you HAVE TO have soybeans with good IDC scores. Points like these should be non-negotiable. If your normal seed dealer can’t get you seed that will work on your soil, get some seed elsewhere.
- If you are picking seed based solely on yield, don’t worry too much about substitutions. Last year’s winners are rarely winners this year. Think about it…2011 was very wet. 2012 was very dry in most areas. Will 2013’s weather match either 2011 or 2012? Not a chance. Rather than trying to get 100% of last year’s winner, we recommend matching varieties to soil types and field situations, planting many different varieties, and spreading your risk by planting a range of maturities.