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Don't sweat seed supply

If this year’s waterlogged late planting, shortage of heat units, and late-season drought have you concerned about 2014 seed supplies, breathe easy. For the most part, seed companies say 2014 seed supplies will be sufficient.

Jeff Hartz, director of marketing for Wyffels Hybrids, has a positive outlook for the 2014 seed supply. “We are in great shape. There were some issues early on in the season,” says Hartz. However, he believes the cool pollination window helped make up lost ground in seed production.

Many other seed companies echo this sentiment. “We feel good. We went into this year with one of the biggest seed supply plans we have ever had,” says Morgan Dugan, Channel brand lead.


The positive sentiment doesn’t mean the year went by flawlessly. The extreme weather conditions created a plethora of issues, all with yield-impacting potential.

“On the bean side, you can certainly tell where there were fields where preemergence herbicides were not used. This has caused more weeds to escape, whether they are herbicide resistant or just harder to control. Bean fields are not as clean as they have been in the past few years,” says David Thompson, marketing communications manager with Stine Seed Company.

When soybeans were planted late, weeds had ideal environments to thrive in. “Late planting and open canopies have not helped things. A lot of herbicide programs have increased to $50 to $80 per acre due to multiple trips across the field to manage hard to control weeds,” says Bruce Battles, solutions development manager with Syngenta.

Delayed planting was one setback the spring rainfall caused, but it also led to another potential problem. The short planting window caused growers to plant in conditions they generally avoid, if given a choice. If forced to plant in wet conditions, there may be potential yield loss due to sidewall compaction.

“There have been concerns about sidewall compaction. If you had to mud it in last spring, you could see slower growing plants,” says Dugan.

Rootworms were a cause of concern for Thompson. “There are areas where rootworm is an issue where it hasn’t been in the past. Certainly, the traits are helping with that,” he says. However, there are areas where rootworm-resistant traits are failing. That’s where Thompson says multiple modes of action to rootworm can help.

Corn Supply

As far as 2014 corn seed supplies go, the seed corn supply is looking good, given the conditions we have had. We had dry areas this summer and a wet spring. Cool weather during pollination helped,” says Thompson.

Battles recommends speaking to your seed company about seed size.

“Overall seed supply is looking good for 2014, but it’s always good to speak with seed providers sooner rather than later to lock in seed size preferences,” he says.

Soybean Supply

Overall, there is a good supply, but there will be shortages in some cases,” says Thompson.

He says soybeans need August rainfall, and his area (central Iowa) simply didn’t receive enough to ensure there would be no shortages.

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