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Thursday
Jan092014

Seed Corn

By this time most farmers have purchased their seed corn for the coming year. Because they're hybrids, we have to purchase new seed every year and can't use the corn we harvest for seed. The GM traits in corn have been a great asset for farmers, but have sent the price of seed through the roof. Some of the corn I looked at this year had a list price of $390.00 per bag. At the population I plant I get about 2.5 acres per bag, so that comes out to $156.00 per acre just for seed.

These are some of the things we look at for each variety.

We go by many different things to try to figure out what seed to get. There are hundreds of companies selling seed and each company has dozens of different numbers (varieties) to choose from. We have to choose the maturity (How many days it takes to mature.), and other traits such as how well it does under irrigation or dryland (no irrigation).

We talk to other farmers as to what works for them, we keep close tabs on what has worked for us in the past, and we look at plots that were grown by farmers, seed dealers, or co-ops.

Just a few of the seed books and records we have to consider.

There are many frustrations. Seed companies try to get us to order before we even harvest the crops which is irritating to no end, since we don't even know how our varieties did. If we do find a good number, it is usually discontinued in a couple of years so we have to start all over again. Finding the correct variety is one area that I don't do well with. I'll end up taking some corn just to try it every year, and at the current prices that can be really expensive if they don't work out.

I've been purchasing from the major corn companies, but will probably start checking out the smaller independent outfits in an attempt to get the price down somewhat. No matter what I do, I'll be keeping track of each hybrid from the moment it comes out of the ground to see what I should get next year. It's never ending.

 

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