Winter Production in South America
By: Steve Woodall, Production, Production Contract Administrator, AgReliant Genetics
AgReliant Genetics, AgriGold’s parent company, is in charge of producing the highest quality seed possible and ensuring AgriGold’s customers have the right hybrids in the trait package they desire. Due to the speed and complexity that is involved in hybrid corn seed production, AgReliant relies on winter production in South America to help strengthen their seed supply for this growing season and many more to come.
Producing seed corn in South America for U.S. corn growers offers some unique benefits and challenges. AgReliant produces seed in Argentina and Chile for several reasons. Genetics and traits in the seed industry are moving ahead faster now than they ever have. Having a second production cycle each year offers the opportunity to provide our customers with a better supply of the newest products and also gives the chance to increase supply of our best products. Parent seed is also produced in South America in order to bring new products up to commercial production levels faster.
A common practice for winter production is for parent seed produced in the U.S. to be harvested, conditioned, quality tested, shipped to South America and planted in a matter of a few weeks. The parent seed traveling to South America is flown down on commercial passenger flights and regular air freight lines. From the time the seed leaves the AgReliant Genetics parent seed plant until it is planted can be as short as five days.
Why Argentina and Chile? Argentina offers an arid climate similar to the western United States and is very well suited to produce 105 day and later maturity hybrids. It also offers vast growing areas where large fields and widespread isolations are possible. All seed production fields in Argentina are irrigated to insure against extended dry periods. The Argentina producers used by AgReliant are equipped with modern dryers and facilities to provide the same gentle handling and high quality seed that can be produced here in the U.S. The widespread growing areas are often served only by dirt roads and the harvest season tends to be rainy some years. The transportation system sometimes causes delays in harvest, but rarely more than a day or two. The dirt roads are well drained and packed harder than many paved roads and trucks are back on them within a few hours of the rain stopping.