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Expect Smaller Seed Corn for 2015 Planting

Planting season is right around the corner, and your corn and soybean seed will be delivered soon. Before the planter starts rolling, you need to be aware of a potential change in your 2015 seed. Brent Minett, team sales agronomist for Beck’s Hybrids, says like the majority of farmers, the seed industry had an excellent 2014 growing season.

“That’s good for you from a seed quality perspective,” says Minett. “As far as germination, cold vigor, warm vigor – we’ve got one of the best quality seed crops we’ve ever had.”

Minett warns that near ideal growing conditions last year may have caused a smaller seed corn size this year. However, he assures seed quality is still high.

“Growers get a little nervous about that,” says Minett. “Seed corn is sold in 80,000-kernel bags. They are used to 45- to 65-pound seed bags. Now we have high-quality 35-pound bags.”

Minett recommends a few planter adjustments to prevent missteps due to seed size. For vacuum planters, make sure you use the correct plate. And remember to adjust the pressure down, says Minett. He also points out that you need to use the right mix of talc or graphite, and recommends you plant at a moderate speed.

There are a few more challenges with the finger pickup planters, Minett adds. Be sure to calibrate the planter for the smaller seed, use the right mix of talc or graphite, and plant at a moderate speed. 

“More important than anything is the speed at planting,” says Minett. He recommends planting under 5 mph. “We’ll do a lot better job planting that small seed in the finger pickup planter and the vacuum planter when we plant at moderate speeds. 

While corn seed will be smaller this year, your soybean seed may be larger than normal.

“A lot of the same recommendations apply,” says Minett. “Precharge that system with talc and graphite, and you’ll have no problem planting that bigger seed.”

“Small corn seed, big soybean seed - neither one are is problem, but we want to make you aware of those thing as you go to the field this spring,” says Minett.

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