When it comes to farming, making an informed seed selection can make all the difference between a year of success and a year of decline. Having confidence in the information on hand to help make the right seed choices is vital.
Annual farm budgets are based on both fixed and variable costs. It’s a tight margin business, and profitability can vary widely. And, every year, you only get one chance to “get it right.” Having the right partners and tech-tools is critical to making the best decisions. Here are four best practices to help increase profitability and productivity for seed selection.
One of the best places to start evaluating what seed should be chosen for the year’s planting is to look at last year’s growth and yield for other regional farms. Review what seeds were purchased, how they performed, and how hybrids performed in the region in general. Then, break down the data. What was purchased last year on your farm, and how well did it perform? Did one do better in certain spots? Or, did it do poorly across the board?
Next, determine soil productivity – it’s essential to know which portions of fields are more or less productive. Try to anticipate costs for the season and evaluate the hybrid seed being considered for purchase. For example, by planting hybrid seed A, it’s estimated that the farm will produce four bushels more per acre. Will that be a good return on investment? The goal is to answer the question, “What’s the best quality seed at the best price that’ll produce the highest yields?”
Once you have determined last year’s seed performance, you can be more confident about which seed packages will help expand the farm in the future. While a seed with multiple traits is more convenient, it’s also more expensive. So, by being selective when choosing the needed traits, a farm can save on costs in the long run. It’s also important to know whether offensive or defensive hybrids are needed based on soil productivity. This will influence planting population rates so that you can choose the best hybrid.
Today’s forward-thinking farmers use technology to do more than drive equipment in the fields. They use it to analyze their fields, anticipate needs, increase efficiency, and make more informed decisions to produce higher harvest yields.
For example, we have client farmers in the Texas Panhandle who have increased their yields using technology to apply the right seed, in the right amount, in the right place. Before the technology upgrade, if they wanted to add more hybrids to their planting program for the current year, they would first consider costs, traits, and coverage. But this can be a lengthy, overwhelming process. Thanks to crop management technology, they are able to get recommendations on a good plant population and have the area calculated. Now, they know exactly how much seed they need for each specific field and what it’ll cost.
Just as finding the right agronomists and trusted advisors is vital for every grower, incorporating technology to make intelligent planting decisions is equally important. When looking for a tech solution, look for a partner whose goal is to help you make better decisions. Their primary focus should always be to provide reliable data and recommendations so that growers know their best interests come first, always.
All in all, many complicated factors go into making the most informed decisions for seed selection, but having the confidence you need to “get it right” doesn’t have to be one of them. So, the next time you’re picking your seed, try using our four best practices and let us know it goes!
Want more tips on how to make better, data-driven decisions? Check out our blog How to Use Combine and Monitor Data to Determine Yield Variability.