Rel­a­tive Ma­tu­rity Dif­fer­ences

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Prices aren’t the only fac­tor that can dif­fer be­tween seed va­ri­eties shar­ing the same ge­net­ics. The Farm­ers Busi­ness Net­work (FBN) anal­y­sis found that when mul­ti­ple brands sell the same va­ri­ety, rel­a­tive ma­tu­ri­ties dif­fer 55% of the time.

In soy­beans, rel­a­tive ma­tu­ri­ties may range from early-ma­tur­ing Group 000 va­ri­eties to latem­a­tur­ing Group 9 ones. Corn rel­a­tive ma­tu­ri­ties may range from early-ma­tur­ing 79-day hy­brids to late-ma­tur­ing 120-day hy­brids.

“When seed bro­kers present prod­ucts to com­pa­nies, they have a rel­a­tive ma­tu­rity rat­ing for them,” says David Thomp­son, Stine Seeds mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor. “But af­ter it goes into their test­ing pro­grams, com­pa­nies can as­sign their own rel­a­tive ma­tu­rity rat­ings.”

“It’s not un­heard of for a com­pany to step up or drop a rel­a­tive ma­tu­rity,” adds Shawn Con­ley, a Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin Ex­ten­sion agron­o­mist. “Say they need a Group 2.6 bean to fill a hole in their lineup. “They can call a 2.2 (or a 3.0) and move it up (or down) to fill it,” he says. In the case where a later-ma­tur­ing va­ri­ety is moved down­ward, the va­ri­ety can still be green when nearby soy­beans with the same rel­a­tive ma­tu­rity are ready to har­vest.

Weather and the en­vi­ron­ment in which seed is tested can in­flu­ence prod­uct per­for­mance, says Jeff Hartz, a seed in­dus­try con­sul­tant. “This can lead to dif­fer­ent ma­tu­rity in­ter­pre­ta­tions,” he says.

“It is not like cre­at­ing a bolt and a nut that will per­form the same way any­where you put it,” says Andy LaV­i­gne, Amer­i­can Seed Trade As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer. “That is why seed com­pa­nies spend such a large amount of time test­ing ge­net­ics in an area to help farm­ers make in­formed de­ci­sions.”

In Stine Seeds’ case, it’s led to la­bel­ing soy­bean rel­a­tive ma­tu­rity as a range, such as from Group 2.4 to 2.6 soy­beans, Thomp­son points out.

Hartz ad­vises farm­ers to study how spe­cific prod­ucts per­form on their own fields.

“That’s the best way to in­ter­pret any brand and its rel­a­tive ma­tu­rity rat­ing,” he says.

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