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Why Book Seed Early?

Booking soybean seed early is a part of the growing cycle that is sometimes overlooked. Most growers will agree that planning is an essential part of farm success, but even when a crop plan is completed, seed bookings aren’t always made well ahead of time. Sometimes getting those bookings in is a delayed task, since making a plan is such an intricate process. Planning what will go on fields is only part of the process, though – getting seed bookings in before the rush is just as important to ensure that a crop plan can be executed as planned.  

According to NorthStar Genetics Western Canadian Manager, Tyler Russell, booking soybean seed is especially important when it comes to ensuring you get the best quality on your farm. “We want to make sure we send out the best quality seed possible. Booking seed early allows NorthStar Genetics to get the best quality seed possible into our retailers’ hands for our farmers to access early,” Russell says. “If orders come in late or just in time in the spring, then there might be other factors that we have to deal with to get it into place. The more time we can have to put the best quality product into our farmers hands the better it is. Plus, growers can start planning which fields the seed makes sense on so they can have the best results.”

Russell goes on to explain the 20/60/20 method and how it can be used on Manitoba fields. “In Manitoba geographies, when choosing varieties growers will use the 20/60/20 rule. Sixty per cent of our varieties are ideal for the maturity of your geography and are right in your wheelhouse. Twenty per cent will be on the early side – an early variety allows you to keep the combines moving. Twenty per cent will be on the later side to really go for big yields,” Russell says. “In Alberta and Saskatchewan, it might be a 30/70 or a 70/30 split, but the concept of spreading risk is the same.”

District Sales Manager, Brian Elliot, agrees with Russell’s sentiment. Elliot’s territory is based in western Manitoba where many different varieties will work on a farm. You might think that in Manitoba where the season is longer most growers will go for the long-season varieties entirely, but that is not always the case. NSC Watson RR2Y is a variety that has proven to be early and yield well, and many Manitoba growers like to spread out their workload with a 20/60/20 split.

“It’s important to book your seed early because if there’s a variety that you really want, it’s wise to get your bookings in. Especially in my territory,” Elliot says. “We don’t know how many soybean acres Saskatchewan is going to grow. Saskatchewan is huge. So, if there’s a variety that you really want, you should book it now. Saskatchewan usually comes in early January or February, and if they come in with big demand those varieties that you want could be all eaten up.”

District Sales Manager, Ron Lukash, is based in Saskatoon and verifies how popular the early varieties have become in Saskatchewan. “Looking at Saskatoon there are two varieties that are at the top of the charts, and those are NSC Leroy RR2Y and NSC Watson RR2Y,” he says. “The biggest one that we go with is Watson because it’s a stick plant, and most farmers have narrow spacings on their drills for canola and wheat, so that’s why this is a fit. It’s also very early. If you get a late rain, this plant will throw up four-pod and five-pod beans on the top. They call that the Arizona cluster. So now you can go from a 35-bushel crop to a 45-bushel crop in one rain. It really has the ability to push the yield. NSC Leroy RR2Y and NSC Watson RR2Y fit our geography,” says Lukash. He explains that understanding which seed works in your geography is the most important factor in booking seed, but that field characteristics and row spacings are also very important.

Although geography and field characteristics are incredibly important when selecting seed, NorthStar Genetics Production Manager, Harry Davies, reminds growers to think about the concepts of supply and demand when considering a seed purchase. “From a NorthStar Genetics standpoint we don’t have an infinite supply of seed, especially with some of our newer varieties. Those are going to be in shorter supply,” he says. “If you book your soybean seed early your likelihood of getting the product that you want on your farm is way higher.”

Creating a seed plan is a crucial component to having a successful year. Adding seed bookings into the seed planning process is a helpful part of execution and reaching farm profitability. When it comes to seed bookings, Ron Lukash leaves us with some final words of wisdom.

“Don’t forget about your seed treatment and inoculant.”