While U.S. farmers assess what the drought means to their corn crop, seed companies evaluate their seed crops to guage 2013 seed corn supplies.
"Today, we’re feeling pretty good about our situation, but every day is a new day," reports Bill Wyffels, president of Wyffels Hybrids.
The regional company grows most of its seed corn in Illinois, with 75% of it under irrigation. Wyffels says this year the company is producing the largest U.S. seed crop that it’s produced in the past five years.
DuPont Pioneer reports its seed corn crop quality reflects the growing conditions it is encountering by geography. The company grows seed corn in multiple states from Nebraska east through Indiana, which helps spread production risks, according to Jerry Harrington, Sales & Marketing Public Relations Manager for the company. The majority of the crop is under irrigation.
"The bottom line is that it’s still too soon to make a call on the quality and quantity outcome of our seed crops," Harrington says. "At this point, I would say we expect to have a good supply of quality seed."
He adds that the company reserves acreage each year in South America for winter production, if needed.
Wyffels says his company will boost production in South America this coming winter in order to meet grower demand for key products, such as the SmartStax brand of hybrids.
"I would say that the seed industry is going to be challenged to produce the seed that’s needed (for next year)," Wyffels reports.
Wyffels made the remarks during the company’s Corn Strategy Day event for customers near Litchfield, Ill., earlier this week. Several hundred farmers were in attendance.
Wyffels says he also anticipates seed corn prices overall will trend higher for 2013.
That will be true for Monsanto, according to Hugh Grant, chief executive. Grant says Monsanto seed corn prices will likely be 5% to 10% higher for 2013, according to a recent release on the Dow Jones Newswire. Grant says the bump in prices is due to farmers’ increased use of premium quality corn hybrids.
Wyffels is encouraging farmers to place seed orders earlier rather than later to insure they get the hybrids they want for next year. Farmers who place their seed order by Sept. 15 are able to take advantage of the best early pay discounts.
Wyffels notes that 2013 will be a year for the record books, and he asks farmers to encourage each other through this summer.
"I think farmers--perhaps even those who are protected by insurance—are finding it pretty frustrating out there," he says. "Being a good neighbor is a good thing to do at this point."
Check your mailbox early next week for Farm Journal's 2012 Seed Guide. You can read more about the corn seed supply chain and other seed-related topics.