Seed for Thought

October 6, 2012 02:01 AM

The concerns about an inadequate seed supply for next year might be best answered by you. Many of the companies say there will be enough to go around, but having enough seed is a completely
different issue than having the right seed. Without a doubt, drought-tolerant and rootworm-resistant hybrids will be in high demand and, as a result, exceptionally tight. Proven yield  performers from the past several years will likely be in short supply as well.

"Having enough seed is a
different issue than having the right seed. Talk to your seed dealer now to get the genetics and trait technologies that you want."

Loyalty Matters. To  get your hands on the seed you want, stay in close contact with your supplier. Don’t wait for him to contact you. Share with him your crop rotation and desired genetics and technology traits. The sooner you can explain your specific needs, the more likely you’ll get the products that fit those needs.

Loyalty to your seed supplier in the past might pay off big in 2013. If you’ve been a 90% to 100% loyal customer, there is an obvious incentive for the supplier to move you to the front of the line. On the other hand, if you’ve been shopping around and bargaining on price rather than value, you might be penalized when it comes to what seed is available. Remember, loyalty is a two-way street.

Selection Tips. Stick to the basic genetics that have performed well on your farm. Then determine the trait technologies that best fit your production practices and order the corresponding seed. Keep new products at less than 25% of your total seed package. Try not to rely too heavily on winter production products, maybe 10% of your total invoice. There’s nothing wrong with winter production, as long as the seed is available in a timely manner. Even the seed  companies can’t control Mother Nature. What if South America has another drought? What if your seed is stuck at the Miami airport?

Early orders in previous years have been beneficial to seed companies for planning, logistics and distribution. This year, farmers will be the ones who benefit from early orders. This is not a year to hold back for a lower price. The consequences are more likely to produce a third- or fourth-choice hybrid/variety. Seed companies will reward early commitments with the best products this year. Pay cash for "real orders." We all know cash is king. There’s no better way to show your commitment than to write a check.

Pay now for your specific needs and you’ll have more leverage than others who choose alternative payment options. Review your plans fieldby- field with your supplier so he can be confident your order is accurate. That’s not to say you can’t make changes later down the road.

Price Points. All of the seed companies have released their pricing structure for 2013. With commodity prices increasing nearly 50% since June 2012, it should come as no surprise that seed prices are higher. A basic invoice will cost at least 3% more than last year. Most new seed products are up between 5% and 10% in price, but some companies will charge 15% more for specific products.

The biggest price increases tend to be on products with the tightest supply. Try to invoice the products that give you the best performance and consistency and don’t be overly concerned about how much more you’re paying. Planning for success and higher yields will far outweigh the price increases.

Take delivery as soon as your seed is available. The best way to control your individual seed supply is to have it in your shed. Once you have the "physical" seed, you have control of your supply. This year, the  early bird gets the seed!

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