After a long winter of waiting, our soybean planting plans are finally getting forged into place. I use the word forged because we made the decision to secure our needs and assign placements. It’s no secret that the seed industry has been dragging their feet on soybean crop plans this year. We’re done waiting!
Some blame is assigned to the Xtend trait in limbo, some blame is pointed at farmers not making up their minds and finalizing 2016 orders. One of the companies we’ve worked with is rumored to be going through an ownership change. There is a lot going on out there, but in general, soybean seed acres are down. For us they are down big, about a 50% cut from last year. Looking to 2017, I wonder if there will be a seed shortage…
Recently, we were able to locate a new market for non-GMO soybeans and are in the process of booking 2016 production. The premiums aren’t as good, but a closer delivery point helps negate some of that reduction. If the seed companies decide to add acres, I hope they do it by the end of the day, otherwise all our acres will be booked and there won’t be any more room for them.
In all this I’ve had to do more ‘shopping’ than I have in years. (I still compare products when growing seed, but haven’t had to seek out products.) I spent time combing through plot data to determine which beans are best. Usually when growing seed, you don’t have to worry about the performance of the variety. By the time they make it to production, it’s a pretty sure bet they’ve made the cut and they are replacing an older variety because the new one is better. After determining my preferences, I found only one of the varieties I desired was ‘sold out’. To me, that clearly shows that now, less than a month from planting here (less than than in many places) decisions are still to be made.
While shopping, I found a great variation in price. Net prices based on the same volume, treatments, and payment periods varied more than 30% - or 2 bushels per acre. Premium seed treatments also varied quite a bit, some as much as 50%.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.