By Maria Brown
Grower needs are diverse, fields and soil profiles are highly variable, and the pest problems that plague crops, they’re always evolving. The NorthStar Genetics staff knows this well from having developed a superior and comprehensive lineup of soybean seed for their customers in the Upper Midwest over the last 20-plus years. Today, in 2017, that knowledge and expertise is fully evident in their corn genetics offerings too. NorthStar Genetics is now fully licensed to sell all corn trait platforms for the coming growing season.
“Twenty seventeen is exciting for us because NorthStar is now a single brand solution for farmers looking for trait options for corn and soybean seed,” says Alan Muhs, NorthStar’s production manager.
When customers survey the options, Muhs is confident they’ll find what they need to meet their corn growing needs.
“NorthStar dealers and customers will see the diversity of our corn hybrid lineup. With our ability to offer a complete trait platform, our customers can now focus on selecting the best offensive and defensive characteristics they are looking for. They can have the confidence to also incorporate desired traits to protect their yield potential,” he says.
Muhs says their desire to offer a wide-ranging corn platform is part of the company’s commitment to help growers boost their bottom line and understand the unique conditions that come with growing corn in the region. The company has been selling corn seed since 2007.
“There is plenty of diversity and variability in Minnesota and the Dakota’s. Farmer’s need genetics that will excel in their region coupled with traits that help protect their yield. NorthStar selects the hybrids that work best in our region. We don’t need a product that can fit from South Dakota to Ohio, we can select niche products that are meant for our Upper Midwest footprint,” Muhs says.
Ensuring they have a tailor-made seed lineup is a year-round process which entails analyzing current products and studying new hybrids from their genetic suppliers. In the 2016 growing season, NorthStar collected and utilized data from nearly 100 corn test plots across five states.
Diversity is key for growers who want to improve their operations with both an offensive and defensive approach, he notes. NorthStar Genetics’ corn hybrids are strong when it comes to traits that can fend off corn earworm, rootworm, and other above- and below-ground pests. Muhs says that dealers and farmers aren’t seeing pest issues intensify so much as they are being detected in new growing areas, which is pushing farmers to look for new defensive solutions.
When it comes to diversifying their marketing options, growers have tapped into recent demand for conventionally-grown corn and NorthStar has paid attention to that trend. Farmers have six conventional hybrids to choose from across all maturities.
“We have seen strong interest in conventional corn seed over the last few years and continue to see growth in that market again this year. Grain markets have made farmers look for more options to keep their operation successful. NorthStar understands the importance of offering options and knowledge to help keep farmers successful,” Muhs says.
NorthStar Genetics still proudly touts their “We Know Beans” slogan but there’s plenty of room for more top-notch products in the company’s sales portfolio. The reputation for excellent genetics that the company built through soybeans now serves as a foundation for corn.
“We may have had a slow start to the recognition of our corn hybrids, but our performance information over the past few seasons has proved to growers we understand their corn needs as well. The NorthStar brand has evolved into one the growers trust for both soybean and hybrid seed corn purchases and has become a great ‘Single Brand Solution’ for soybean and corn seed purchases,” Muhs says.