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Relationships enter this cropping decision

Corn Pest Beat: If switching from corn to beans means backing out on seed orders, you have to consider morals and ethics plus agronomics and economics.

February 1, 2019

2 Min Read
treated seed corn
WHICH SEED, WHOSE SEED? You already ordered seed corn for a field, but now you are considering switching to soybeans — and you buy soybeans elsewhere. What should you do? This decision involves more than agronomics.

I may switch 300 acres that were going to corn after corn to soybeans, partly due to rutting last fall and partly due to insect concerns. I have already ordered seed corn but haven’t paid for it or received it. Are there any ramifications for backing out of the order? I typically buy soybean seed from a different company. Should I buy the seed from the seed corn company I will be backing out on to be fair?

The Indiana certified crop adviser panel answering this question includes: Gene Flaningam, Flaningam Ag Consulting LLC, Vincennes; Greg Kneubuhler, G&K Concepts, Harlan; and Tom Stein, manager of the Boswell and Templeton branches for Ceres Solutions Cooperative.

Flaningam: When switching from a seed corn order so you can plant soybeans, you have to look at your early order discount factors. You still may be able to receive your early order discount if you switch to soybeans with the same company. The downfall of switching late in the season is the limited availability of those better-performing genetics that are in high demand.

Kneubuhler: This may be more of a moral or ethical question, as it pertains to your relationship with your seed dealer and what you committed to him or her. Most companies are accommodating in terms of adjusting seed orders to fit the farmer’s needs, especially if it gets done earlier rather than later. You need to decide for sure what you are doing and talk to your seed dealer now! 

As far as ramifications, you may give up certain dollar volume discounts. I would say you should consider all the factors, and simply meet and discuss things with your seed company dealers. There is value in maintaining good relations with your seed dealer. I wouldn’t want to burn any bridges there.

Stein: There are some things to consider here. I guess you’ll need to decide what is the most important thing to you at the end of the day, after you consider all the factors involved. Is it potentially damaging the relationship you have with your seed corn dealer, sourcing the best soybean seed varieties for your particular farming operation? Or perhaps you could realize a lower cost per unit and reduce your input costs by taking advantage of an additional volume discount with your current soybean seed supplier? 

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