Cornelius Seed announced the introduction of Cornelius soybeans, a departure from the company’s hybrid corn emphasis of the past. The Bellevue, Iowa, based company will offer it’s proprietary soybean line for sale this fall for the 2014 planting season.

 “This is an exciting chapter in our 78-year history,” said Chuck Cornelius, president.

Cornelius Seed has historically provided soybeans from other private labels while it concentrated its resources on developing high-performance corn hybrids. However, with the advent of new genetics, new soybean traits on the horizon and new seed treatments, all of which can affect performance, Cornelius determined its customers would be best served by bringing those same resources to bear on the future of soybeans.

As a result, Cornelius Seed will introduce nine new varieties this August at its sales kick-off meeting. The varieties range in maturity from 1.8 to 3.1. They are in a number of public plots and third-party trials for prospective customers to see this summer and fall. “These varieties are at the cutting edge of performance over anything we see in the industry,” the company president said.

Cornelius will assume full authority over genetic research and selection, seed production quality and timeliness as well as trait and treatment selection. “Our soybean introduction will augment the high-performance corn business we offer our customers,” Cornelius said.

“We’ve been heavily involved in the soybean industry now for 20 years. Because of that history, we can select genetics, produce appropriate quantities in a timely fashion and at higher levels of quality.”

The Cornelius soybean launch follows strategic growth plans the company has been laying for several years. It has added substantial seed processing facilities with upgrades, expansions and new construction since 2006. In the past four years, two sons, Will and James Cornelius, graduates of Iowa State University, have returned to the business in management roles.

In the past decade, Cornelius opened its corn trait access to all three multinational trait developers, a strategic move that allows Cornelius to literally offer more genetic and trait combinations than the country’s largest seed firms, the company contends.

“This is the driving force behind our continuing commitment to operate an independent seed company,” Cornelius explained. “It gives farmers more options than three multinationals fighting it out over turf. We have access to all of the results those developers have introduced. That allows us to perform across genetics, trait platforms and seed treatment options. We can’t help but provide a broader range of options than those who pursue only their developments.”

He also points to the broad availability of genetics and traits Cornelius has at its disposal targeting its specific marketing area. “There is no company with fuller access to genetics or traits designing hybrids and varieties for a specific 3-state area.”

Cornelius services farmers in the eastern and northern halves of Iowa, southwest Wisconsin and the northern one-half of Illinois. Its footprint covers approximately 10 million acres of corn and of soybeans.