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Seed Placement: The Most Important Crop Decision of the Year

Every year at this time, growers are hustling around getting last minute decisions made for their crops, taxes, etc. One thing that really affects next year is the seed purchases growers are making. Hopefully, most growers are just locking in bags that can be placed later for expense purposes. The last thing that growers want to do, in our opinion, is rush such an important decision as it affects their bottom line for next year.

Placing your varieties by field is the most important decision you will make that affects your income for the coming year. Getting the wrong product in the wrong field can be a disaster from a financial standpoint. Don't get me wrong, there is no secret to making this decision easy, but there are several factors that you should consider.

A. Use a 25-50-25 maturity spread. Put 25% of your portfolio in early maturities, 50% in mid season maturities and 25% in later maturities. Every year is different, so having things spread out for pollination is a good thing.

B. When looking for data, ask your suppliers for more than plot data on products. Ask for data on products that have been across several acres and several different operations. Today’s precision ag systems allow growers to collect data easily. This makes plots irrelevant unless you are looking at very new releases. If your supplier has only a plot behind his reasoning for a recommendation, run.

C. Most suppliers provide data today that is based on yield and moisture collected from a set of plots in certain geography. This provides very limited data and does not give you a full spectrum idea of the product. You should to be looking at data from a broader standpoint; how population, nitrogen rates, phosphorus and potassium levels, etc. can all effect your selections. This shows you how just plot data can become irrelevant quickly.

D. Weed control programs could also affect your seed selections, especially in corn. What if a selection you or your seed dealer has made is really sensitive to Dicamba and you hit the field with Status? You risk having issues with brittle stalks that could lead to green snap issues. What if you have a hybrid selected for a field that has a lower tolerance to a pigment inhibitor and you hit it with Callisto? This can also be a problem. Always take your weed control programs into account when selecting your product.

E. Nitrogen programs are an extremely important part of the seed placement decision. Workhorse and Racehorse products have different needs. We really believe that making sure a grower has adequate nitrogen available all season long is crucial to producing top yields. If a grower is placing a racehorse product in a field and putting all of the nitrogen on in the fall, chances are he may be leaving yield on the table by not splitting up nitrogen passes and forms of nitrogen throughout the season.

F. Paying attention to the agronomic characteristics of each product is another factor to consider. Variances like stalk or root ratings are very important for final field placement. Disease ratings and emergences scores can also be crucial factors in making sure your selection is the best for you and your field.

As we said earlier, there is no perfect equation for seed placement. But using data that is available to most operations can spread risk and minimize possible issues. There is no bigger decision than seed placement when it comes to your profitability for 2017. We hope that growers take the time needed to make the best possible decision. If you don’t personally have the time or are looking for a little extra support, look for a trusted advisor to help you in making such a crucial decision for your operation. We here at Harvest Max Associates would be more than happy to give you any help we can in making 2017 a great year.

Happy New Year!

Harvest Max Associates

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