Monday, October 22, 2012

Seed Sales and Indian Summer

A young friend posted this on Crop Talk and I felt his frustration.

"When is it best to be satisified with what you have? I have fallen into a routine lately where I plant one, maybe two brands of beans and one brand of corn. Mix the varieties quite a bit, but stick with those companies. I kept hearing about X company's corn, and got a little curious. Found out where the closest dealers where and made a note to talk to someone here as soon as I got wrapped up with beans.

Well, lo and behold, a rep from those folks came out to see my cousin whose farm base is adjacent to mine. They were thrashing beans several miles from home and he couldn't find them so he stopped by my place when I was just pulling in. Said it was too late for him to track them down that evening but if I could tell him where they would be he would find them tomorrow, so I explained to him how to get to them. We talked a few minutes about the usual, and I asked him to tell me about a couple varieties of this seed corn I'd heard so much about. He practically shut me down on one and sort of gave me the run down on another.

Apparently, the age of your equipment must mean you're not much good at what you do or maybe it leads people to think you don't have enough acreage to help them pay their bills, because this guy never shared his business card, any literature or anything with me whatsoever. I even came out from the get and stated that I probably wouldn't plant a whole crop this seed, but I'd like to plant 15 or 20 acres to see what it did and go from there. Obviously, even though that might've been a doorway to more business, it wasn't ENOUGH business, and off he went. I was floored.

Obviously, I'm thinking it's time to dance with the one that brought me. I'm consistently yielding better by the year, and while it's not record breaking it's more than any of my ground has ever seen, so things must be going right. The cousin I speak of, his father is in his 80's and was talking to me later that day, and he made a statement that I think is likely true. He said that nearly all of these companies are offering nearly the same things, it's just finding the varities that fit. I think he's probably right. We ran 30 acres of beans the other day, same ground separated by a lane.

One side was completely different brand, but varieties of the two brands were similar. If I didn't know which we were, couldn't have told you the difference. Yielded within a bushel and color and size nearly identical. Thinking I'll stick with my dance partners unless they give me reason not to. I have reps that seem to appreciate my business even though I'm probably a drop in the bucket to them, and are there if I need help. Their products are proven all over, I see many of you using these same seeds. If it ain't broke, I'm done trying to fix it, I think I've learned my lesson."

My boys sold Bird Hybrids in the 90's before the traited seed came out.  It helped put them through college and I learned a lot about quality seed.  Traited seed changed all of that and suddenly it became too big a chore for us to keep up.  They moved on with their lives, yet I still help a couple of friends find good seed.  Traited seed changed the whole shooting match.  I find myself in a constant quest to find new non GMO varieties which seem to become scarcer every year.  It is the seed I need so I keep my quest.  Seed sales is not really for me, it is a full time job like everything else in this age of specialization.

Indian Summer is upon this week but a big storm will quickly bring it to an end, we know not the day or time.  This behooves us to get everything done we can outside before it quickly leaves us.

Have a great Indian Summer week!  Our Northern Pecan trues are showing the last of their beauty for this year.

Ed




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