What is the value of your seed? This seems like an easy question, right? The accurate answer is…you get what you pay for! Newer genetics and traits mean a higher cost. On the other hand, older genetics and fewer traits mean a lower cost.

These may seem like simple answers, but cost is only half the equation. You see, the value of seed is actually its profit potential. Profit potential is your bushel potential less the cost of your seed. The cost of the seed is set before you even put it in the ground, while the bushel potential is created after it goes in the ground.

Sounds easy again, right? To get the best bushel poten­tial, most growers buy seed with the best genetics and traits, plant, then walk away. While this has some merit to it, you’re only partway there. Each variety has a certain bushel potential, and there are different factors that play into this, such as planting date, plant population, rotation, fertility, disease toler­ance, insect tolerance, etc.

One of our partners, WinField United, has done extensive testing through their Answer Plot® program to understand the yield capabilities of the brands your Key Cooperative Agronomist recommends—including DEKALB®, Mycogen®, NK Brand and Croplan®. For years, they have tested and analyzed yield responses in four main areas: response to population, response to nitrogen, response to rotation and response to fungicide.

The goal is to find out what factors unlock the full yield potential of a given hybrid. If you plant a particular hybrid, do you need to push to population? Do you need to push the nitrogen? Do you need to plant it in first-year corn? Do you need to apply a fungicide? Not all hybrids respond the same. Some need to be pushed to unlock their full yield potential, while others do not. The following reflects some of WinField United’s findings over a seven-year period:

As you can see, there is significant yield potential to be unlocked. The average response of 89.6 bushels at $3.00 per bushel of corn amounts to $268.80 per acre. This is the value in your seed!

In the coming months, I will dive deeper into each of these responses, answering questions like why some varieties respond to a certain environment or input while others do not. I will also highlight some of the hybrids you are currently planting from Key Cooperative and their responses. Until then, I challenge you to reach out to your Key Cooperative Agronomist and find out how you can unlock the yield potential of your farm this year.

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