By Brian Hefty
When you listen to most of the high yield farmers from across the country, they talk about achieving even emergence in your stand. Here’s my question for you today. Is the seed treatment on your corn, your soybeans, and your wheat the absolute best it can be, or is it just average?
The reason why I want you to evaluate this on your farm is because we are seeing a huge difference in seed treatments from company to company. While some companies are investing a lot of money making sure they have the best-performing seed treatments, other companies are trying to save money by using old technology, fewer seed treatments, or seed treatments their company manufactures rather than the very best products.
On our farm this spring, our VT doubles had 29 seed treatments and our SmartStax corn had 30. I know that may seem like a lot, but our testing has found these seed treatment packages gave us faster and more even emergence, even in cold, damp soils. Ultimately, this has given us more yield. Now, I’m not saying you have to get 30 treatments on the seed – although I do think that would help your bottom line – but I am saying I want you to ask your seed dealer what you have on the seed. What exactly is getting put on your corn, soybeans, wheat, or any other crop? Does your dealer know exactly what each one of those treatments does? Is each treatment and the final combination the absolute best you can get?
I was recently talking to a farmer about this spring. He asked me how things were going on our farm, and I rattled off a few things that were important to me. I then asked him what he was focused on for this spring, and he said, “Cost.” That was all he said. Look, I understand controlling your costs can be important, but in many cases having the best seed treatment instead of an average seed treatment may be the same money or only a slight increase. What I believe we all really need to focus on is return on investment. If you can invest $2 more and have that return $4, $8, or $10, that’s an absolute home run.
I know it’s probably too late to find a better seed treatment this spring, since your crop may already be planted, but I want you to check the emergence differences with various seed treatments on your farm and your neighbors’. Again, the cost difference may be nothing, but we are absolutely seeing a difference in performance. While almost every company has the same insecticide family on the seed, there are lots of choices when it comes to fungicides & biologicals, both good and bad. While seed genetics are certainly important, we find that seed treatment differences are also big factors when it comes to getting great stands, good yields, and improved profits.