What farmers spend annually on what FBN terms as relabeled corn and soybean seeds.
ferences may result between varieties with the same genetics offered by different companies, says Cavanaugh.
“There are farmers who just want the lowest price possible,” he says. “Others want the largest amount of value they can get for the dollars they spend. That is the type of customer who is attracted to us. We offer farmers a free replant program and exclusive seed treatments on all our seed. There are also financing programs that accompany seed purchases, and also our Practical Farm Research (an agronomic testing program offered to customers).”
These services and others cost money and are reflected in the seed price, he adds.
Varietal popularity can also impact pricing, says LaVigne. “Did they (farmers) come in late (to buy) a popular variety of which there was not a lot of supply left? Those kinds of things can all come into play,” he says.
So far, FBN’s analysis hasn’t swayed McDaniels’s seedbuying strategy.
“It has changed some of the varieties I’ve looked at within Pioneer, but it hasn’t shifted me away to another seed company. Most of that has to do with the relationship I have with a local dealer. In good times, the value of that relationship you have with a dealer will have more priority than the cost of seed. But as margins get thinner, and if I can get the same performance for a $200 bag of seed (corn) vs. $300, the price of seed becomes a bigger issue.”
“I haven’t had any big ‘aha’ moments that have saved me lots of money,” adds Palen. However, he used FBN’s analysis to avoid varietal overlap when planting a corn variety trial.
“It ensured we did not unknowingly enter the same variety from two different companies,” he says.
For Combs, the transparency brought by efforts like FBN’s report gives him the ability to better select seed and evaluate seed prices.
“My dad did not farm,” he adds. “I had to start on my own, 18 to 19 years ago. I have grown from 79 to 2,000 acres. I didn’t get there by giving money away.”
Gil Gullickson has included crop production in his agronomic coverage for several decades. Email Gil.Gullickson@ meredith.com