2012 drought could impact seed quality, availability in 2013
By CARLETA WEYRICH
Germination and quality of seed, as well as the supply of certain varieties, could be issues as growers go into the 2013 planting season, among other concerns.
“Seed availability is a big topic in the seed industry for 2013,” said Matt Cosler of Master Feed Mill, Inc., based in Wilmington, Ohio. “The drought of 2012 was not only hard on growers, but also on the seed industry. Certain varieties that were grown in drought stricken areas could potentially come up a little short on supply, and I think that will be found not just with one company or another, but across the industry. DuPont Pioneer has done a great job of managing production and inventory so that we do not anticipate supply challenges this spring.
“Product availability may be at the forefront of the many challenges growers will face this season,” Cosler continued. “The bulk of the concerns this spring will lie within the chemical and fertilizer markets, as well as varietal shortages in the seed market. International growth and modernization in agriculture have taxed the production capabilities of companies industry wide. I think that it will be up to the producers of agricultural inputs and their logistical teams to make sure that products make it to the field on time. As always, but especially this year, communication is key in making sure the 2013 planting season goes as smooth as is possible.”
“Availability has been somewhat of an issue, but we have handled it very well,” said Jay Harmount, of Brodbeck Seeds, headquartered in Wabash, Ind. “Since we are a part of DowAgrosciences, we have the ability to go to South America to help fill in the holes that were created with the poor growing conditions here in the States last year. Even though a majority of our seed crop is grown under irrigation, it did not make up for the extreme heat we experienced which hurt the crop.
“As a whole, I have had very few changes in seed orders,” Harmount said. “Most of my changes have been in the earlier varieties of 104 and 105 day maturities used by my Northern Ohio accounts. We have had some of our Refuge Advanced products changed to SmartStax varieties due to reduced germ in the surrogate used for refuge in those products.
“Soybean varieties have been readily available as our seed production area for beans experienced late rains, which enhanced yields and seed size,” he said.
“I think growers need to be aware of what they have ordered and confirm what they are going to receive,” Harmount continued. “Seed sizes for corn are going to be smaller, and soybeans much larger, than normal. I believe farmers should be aware of soil conditions at the time of planting. Last year’s early planting into cool soils created some replant issues with seedling blights in corn. I’m sure the planters will roll when it’s dry enough to plant, but many may wait for temperatures to be acceptable as well. Especially those who had to replant their corn.”
“Availability on soybeans for Bio Gene has been great,” said Jerrode Jones, client success partner for Bio Gene Seed. “We have some very good local growers/producers for us that have done a great job. On the other hand, corn has taken a hit with the last two years of hot and dry weather. Availability is limited and early ordering is a must to insure the proper product for the specific fields of the farmer.
“Much of the U.S. soybean seed production areas were devastated this year and resulted in very poor germinating and appearing soybean seed,” Jones said. “It is important that farmers question their seed supplier on the germination and quality of their seed. Bio Gene’s soybean seed supply is excellent in appearance, and more importantly, excellent in quality.
“Most all of Bio Gene’s soybean seed is higher than 95 percent warm germination, and cold germination scores are in the 90-plus percent level as well,” he added. “We supply the germination report from Indiana Crop Improvement’s laboratory, as an unbiased test, to support the germination score on the seed tag.”
An additional issue is weed control, especially in soybeans. A residual herbicide should be used on every acre of soybeans; regardless of whether the farmer is planting Roundup or Liberty resistant soybeans, according to Jones.