A couple studies suggest seed salesmen have not been completely honest with their farmer customers.
Farmers Business Network (FBN) recently released the findings from its Seed Relabeling and Price Transparency reports. Ron Wulfkuhle, head of seed for Farmers Business Network, says the Seed Relabeling report compared seed bag tags.
“It lets the farmer understand if he is planting the same genetics from different brands of seed. In the seed industry, it’s pretty typical – If there’s a successful breeder, they’ll license the same product to a number of different companies,” Wulfkuhle said.
“There’s nothing inherently wrong with this,” Wulfkuhle admits. However, it can increase risk.
“Where it gets tricky for the farmer is he may purchase from four different seed companies. Only when he becomes an FBN member (does) he take a look at this report and see that he planted the exact same hybrid from four different companies and planted his entire farm to the same product, which introduces risk that farmers would never take knowingly,” Wulfkuhle said.
Farmers Business Network also uncovered “trait zone pricing,” in its Price Transparency report. Wulfkuhle says, ”This means farmers are paying for seed based on where they live, not where they can go buy seed.”
“If you want to buy a color TV and don’t want to pay the price of your local town, you can go to another state and buy a color TV. In the case of seed, you’re going to pay the price of seed based off where you live, not necessarily where you go buy it from,” Wulfkuhle said. “What this does is show the unfairness in that. Farmers should be able to source seed from whoever’s willing to provide it to them at the lowest price.”
Farmers are encouraged to view the two reports, with their farm’s specifics in mind. They should then consider having a discussion with their individual seed salesman.