If you sign a seed contract, you're making a commitment. There are stories about people who sign just to avoid saying no to a friend, then back out alter. If it's s a small order, the hassle of the company pressing the order may not be worth it. However, anyone who pulls such a stunt likely severs a valuable relationship.
On the flip side, the company is making a commitment to you to supply quality seed and service to go behind it. Here are five more questions you may want to ask before signing on the dotted line, or saying 'no thanks.' Dave Nanda, director of genetics and technology for Seed Consultants, Washington Courthouse, Ohio, helped provide information for these answers.
Look for questions 1-5 and 6-10 in the Wednesday and Thursday edition.
Question 11. What is your replant policy? You may not decide to buy just because a company says it will provide 100% replant, no questions asked, but you may want to know what the rules are upfront. This one is worth seeing in writing on the seed contract.
Question 12. What is the germination of the seed? The salesman won't likely know what germination will be for a specific lot you might get, but he ought to have a feel for how germination is running for that hybrid in general, unless it hasn't been processed and tested yet. If it's an older product, he should be able to comment based on past performance.
Question 13. What is your seed quality record? Naturally, the answer is likely to be 'excellent' from everyone you ask. So get specific. Has anyone using your seed had a problem with 'dirty' seed from beeswings? If you're considering graded seed, how consistent is the grading? These may be questions that might be better to ask a customer who has used the seed. But at least you can let the salesman know you're concerned about seed quality for planting purposes.
Question 14. When do you have to take delivery? Are returns allowed?
Get these details out of the way upfront. Sometimes delivery date may be tied to discounts, sometimes it may be tied to warehouse space for the seed company. Know what to expect before you commit. And if you change your mind after you have the seed and don't plant it, or wind up with too much, can you return it? If so, what price will you be credited for?
Question 15. How many freebies and free lunches can you give me? OK, if you're serious, you won't ask this question. Yet it's a question some salesmen say they get, and sometimes a point of contention. If the company doesn't believe in handing out free stuff, they'll likely make that clear upfront, as a selling point as to why they offer seed at a lower price.
Remember, you're not only buying seed, you're looking for a partner and someone you can build a relationship with for the long term.