Nervous farmers scramble for corn seed after drought
Farmers used 25 million bushels of corn for seed in the marketing year that ended on August 31, up 2.4 percent from the previous year due to expanded plantings, according to the Agriculture Department. That means about 0.2 percent of the total crop was used for seed.
EARLY ORDERS, EARLY PAYMENTS
Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, is "confident in supplying seed for the coming year," President Brett Begemann said on an earnings call last month, predicting that farmers for a second year will plant corn on nearly 96 million acres.
He noted the supply situation is "remarkably similar" to last year because weather "stretched" seed production in both years. The company declined further comment.
"As farmers turn toward next year, seed is a priority," Begemann said on the call.
That's true for Joslin and other farmers placing orders early.
Illinois-based Wyffels Hybrids has "seen a lot of early orders and early payments," said Jeff Hartz, director of marketing.
"People are really after strong genetics that they think are going to perform," he said.
Yields at Wyffels' seed farms in northern Illinois caught "lucky" rains and were roughly 10 percent below average, much better than the 40 percent losses the company said were possible, Hartz said.
Wyffels has a good supply of seed on hand after expanding plantings last spring, he said, adding that some top varieties could run short industrywide.
Referring to Wyffels' supply, he said: "We feel like right now it's probably a competitive advantage."
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