Seed Wheat Prices Are Up

Published on: 07:57AM Jul 23, 2008
Vance Ehmke

It’s no surprise that seed wheat prices like everything else are up. It’s also no surprise that if you try to save money by going with poor quality seed or out-of-date varieties, you may lose more than you ever hoped to save.

At this point in the year, it’s early for certified seed growers to have established prices. Having said that, I called a number of growers to get their thoughts on what seed will cost this fall.

One large Texas Panhandle grower said his yields were sharply reduced because of drought and hail. He said he’ll have one of the smallest supplies in years while demand in the area will be very strong. Of course, that means higher prices—with many varieties selling for $l5 to $l8/bu. He expects triticale to be on the low end of that market.

A southwest Kansas grower said his contract-grown seed was costing him $l0—so his prices will be up considerably from last year. He was looking for registered seed to plant himself for production of certified seed next year---and was hoping to pay $l6 for it.

Another area grower hadn’t set their prices yet, but said they’ll be higher than last year. Then, Jagger sold for $ll/50 or $l3/60. Jagalene sold for $l3 to $l4/bu. “Demand is good.”

Another southwest Kansas grower said his yields ran 75% of normal because of hail. “I’m expecting strong demand because supplies in the area are short. Plus, we’ve got a lot of corn growers who are switching over to wheat because of the cost of producing corn.”

This grower is expecting strong varieties like TAM ll2 and some AgriPro varieties to sell for $l8/bu. He has volume discounts where growers can earn up to another 50 cents off.

Another seed dealer said wheat acreage will be up this year because of higher grain prices. “So, yes, demand for seed is certainly there.”

In central Kansas, a grower says there has been a lot of inquiry on seed availability and price. He predicts common wheats like certified Jagger will sell for $l2 and $l3/bu while AgriPro varieties will go in a $l5 to $l8 range. “A co-op I know of is trying to buy Jagger for $l2 and private varieties for $l3.50. They’ll then have to pay for transportation and markup when they resell the wheat.”

Seed growers point out that as more and more public and private varieties require royalties to be paid, seed prices will reflect that. Royalties often run from 60 cents to $l and more per bushel.

Another western Kansas grower thinks Jagger will sell for $ll/bu while newer, hotter varieties will sell for $l2.

One eastern Colorado grower said their highest yielding wheat made only 22 bushels per acre. Because of seed shortages, he’s predicting strong demand. This grower likely will have to buy seed from other growers to make up for his shortfall.

Another western Kansas grower had very high losses to hail and is, too, looking to buy certified seed from other growers. “There’s a lot of seed in central Kansas,” he notes, “but many of those varieties are not well adapted to western Kansas.”

The best place to look for objective yield data is in your land grant university wheat variety trials. The KSU tests, for instance, have not been reported yet, but when available will have a wealth of information. Newer can be better. The newly released TAM ll2 in northwest Kansas topped all varieties with yields of ll8% of average or l0 bu/acrer more than average in ‘07. Hatcher from CSU was second in the trails.

On the other hand, older varieties like 2l37 shouldn’t be overlooked. In ’07 in southwest Kansas, 2l37 easily edged out Jagalene, the second most popular variety in Kansas. It also beat Art, Postrock and TAM lll which very likely will have higher price tags.