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Tight seed corn supply has industry nervous

Tight seed corn supply has industry nervous

Industry sources have told Farm Industry News that this year’s seed corn supply is much tighter than previously thought, and could lead to some significant shortages of top-end hybrids this growing season.

As reported in Farm Industry News in September ("Corn seed production may drop 20% in 2012"), the challenging 2011 growing season put a huge dent in seed corn production, forcing many companies to supplement supplies with South American production to meet what is expected to be a significant year for planted corn acres.

However, South American production comes with risks. Production in Chile is expected to be good, but drought in Argentina could ding production and quality of the seed. Seed from South America is expensive to grow and ship, which means only high-value seed corn is being targeted.

But what is making many industry insiders nervous is the timing of South American production. As one source shared with Farm Industry News, “An early spring in North America makes seed companies nervous because the seed from South America may not be here in time if we start planting early.”

Industry insiders offer these suggestions:

  •  Check early, and often, about your orders.


  • Ask for seed corn delivery sooner rather than later, and take delivery of what the company can ship rather than waiting for the complete order.


  • Anticipate that some top seed corn hybrids that are being grown in South America will arrive later than usual. Companies will know how much seed is produced, but it will still need to be shipped to North America.


  • Be prepared for alternate hybrids.

A delayed harvest in South America could create even more significant problems for the market. There should be enough seed to plant for 2012, but many of the choice hybrids will be in very short supply, experts predict.

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