Use Seed Buying Patience

The type of seed genetics to plant next spring is on the mind of many no-tillers these days. With growing concerns about marketing genetically modified organism (GMO) seed, many people are getting frustrated.

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I would advocate inaction at this point in time,” Kim Harris, an agribusiness economist from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., said last fall. “It’s a problem that’s not going to go away, but it’s too soon to make a decision about whether to plant transgenic crops, which ones to select and how many acres to plant. You may want to delay your seed purchase decision to later this year or even until the first of next year.”

By January 1, he expects industry, government and trade organization representatives in Europe and North America will be meeting and identifying the most critical issues. “There has to be a breakthrough soon regarding the market that will exist for GMOs. If the marketability of GMOs isn’t resolved soon, many farmers will switch back to traditional seed varieties.”

Caught By Surprise

Along with no-tillers who planted GMO seed last spring, executives of corporations that developed transgenic crops were caught off guard by the strength of overseas opposition.

“Here in the U.S., it wasn’t such a big issue at the first of the year,” says Harris, who regularly talks with folks at seed firms, chemical companies and farm supply dealerships. “It wasn’t even that big in the middle of the summer. But in the…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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