Plenty of hallway concerns were voiced about skyrocketing seed prices by attendees at the recent National No-Tillage Conference in Indianapolis, Ind. With many new high-tech developments and traits creeping into corn genetics, seed corn costs have already reached $200 to $250 a bag and some no-tillers are scared that prices may move quickly toward $500 a bag. They say higher seed prices may have a serious impact on plant populations, especially with no-tilled soybeans.
Taking advantage of soaring grain prices last spring and summer, Monsanto increased the price of its high-valued seed corn by an average of 15% to 20%. In addition, company officials expect to boost seed prices by as much as another 25% this year. Many other seed companies quickly followed suit.
But now that grain prices have come down, Wall Street investment analysts say the company’s aggressive pricing strategy could backfire. They believe growers may be tempted to switch to brands with lower prices or to companies offering market-building promotions.
At the conference, several speakers talked about reducing no-till soybean rates from as much as 225,000 to only 100,000 seeds per acre without any loss in yield. But they made it clear that attendees need to evaluate different seeding rates under their own cropping conditions.
There was also talk among attendees of taking a closer look at raising non-GMO crops due to increasing high-tech seed prices.
A good example is the on-farm research done this past year by Worth & Dee Ellis…