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Expect Seed Company Rep to Knock On Your Door SoonExpect Seed Company Rep to Knock On Your Door Soon

Selling strategies move buying up before harvest.

Tom Bechman 1

August 5, 2011

2 Min Read

If your seed rep that you bought corn from this year hasn't been at your farm yet, expect him or her soon. And he likely will be as interested in booking your order for next season as he or she will at looking at this year's crop.

It's a major shift from the days when you harvested, checked test plot results, then began ordering corn. The move has been happening over time, but reports from industry insiders say visits are already underway and cash is changing hands- for 2012 crop, and it's only early August. In some cases, the selling and booking apparently began in July.

Why the early shift? In some ways, it's a game of 'follow the leader.' Some companies have successfully booked sales early through field days and with promotions for the past several seasons. Other companies, not wanting to be left out, are now telling their salesmen to go out and sell for 2012, even though the outcome of the 2011 crop is still very much in doubt, let alone anyone having any idea how one hybrid may stack up to another.

As the buyer, you may have an opportunity to cash in on some sweet discounts. Add up volume discounts and early pay discounts this far out, and you may be able to cut a good chunk out of your seed bill for 2012, assuming you have the cash or line of credit to make the purchase now. If you're using credit, do some careful calculation to see if it makes more sense to pay interest compared to the discount you can get for buying and paying now.

Obviously, you'll be making booking decisions without knowledge of how this year's hybrids performed if you book now. Some companies may allow you to switch hybrids and varieties later based on availability, some may not. Be sure you understand how your company is handling that situation, especially if you're paying cash down now.

There's also the hot hybrid syndrome. The very best numbers just coming out are often in short demand. Your particular sales rep may only get a limited quantity. If you want to check out that hybrid or if you checked it out this year and like how it looks so far, you may have to order early in order to make sure you get some of that particular hybrid for your farm next year.

This could be a 'snooze and you lose' season, especially if you're after hot numbers. With all this said, companies will sell seed well into next spring. It's just that most of them hope to have the majority of their business, especially loyal customers, locked down long before that. Likely some of you are locked in already.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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