Question: Thinking about your seed business, in what ways has it changed during 2017?
A: “We knew that 2017 was going to be a challenging economic environment for growers. Last year in central Illinois, we had a lot of corn-on-corn with a lot of ear diseases in all brands, so we expected those acres to go to soybeans this year. It was a good financial decision given the corn yields they had last year. Having high-yielding Asgrow soybeans to put on those shifted acres worked well for us and the growers. We had two flood events and a drought all in the same year, so replant was a big issue, too, but our dealers were ready with a deep lineup of product.” Click to listen to full interview.
A: “Here in east central South Dakota, we serve a full spectrum of soil types. We literally live on the line between extreme western Corn Belt farming and good eastern glacial till, high-production acres. Going into the 2017 season, we knew it was going to be a challenging year. Even before planting, we saw weather extremes—creating a lot of in-season and last-minute decision-making. With lower commodity prices and new technologies, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made. A lot of the challenges that growers face are directly reflected on us as retailers.” Click to listen to full interview.
A: “Farmers are facing lower commodity prices and have had one of the most challenging springs here in the eastern Corn Belt. Farmers were faced with sometimes replanting one, two or three times. From a seed production standpoint, we faced challenges early, but we have had continued rains particularly during pollination that have improved the condition and quality of the crop. Technology has changed many facets of production in our industry. Just like farmers, we are using high-speed planters to get more acres planted. Optical sorters at our production plants reduce labor costs and increase efficiency.” Click to listen to full interview.