Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Answering a seed question

On AgTalk the subject of Becks using Pioneer genetics was brought up.  I chose to not fully address the subject there because I felt it was crossing the fine imaginary line into a sales pitch, but said I would respond on the farm page for anyone who wanted to know what I thought.

I said "There are several ways to respond to this.  30 years ago George Pickering told me the national companies have to focus on what works over a wider marketing area and that they can produce easily.  Their selection process is different from a smaller regional or family company.  I was setting in a meeting yesterday with the head of research at Becks and he said almost exactly the same thing George did 30 years ago!

I'm trying not to turn this into a sales pitch and just answer the question. Yes, they use Pioneer genetics ... and Syngenta ... and Monsanto ... and Bayer ... and Stine and anyone else in the industry. I personally find it refreshing to find someone who DOESN'T say they have all the answers. AND they put on the bag using (whomever) genetics.  Seen any one else do that ?"

Kevin Cavanaugh said Tuesday they looked at  ... I think he said 29,000 possibilities last year.  I asked him how one makes an intelligent decision with that many to look at?  The answer is as simple as it is complex.  The build a database, and spend a lot of time just looking at varieties. 

I'll be honest, looking at just the choices I have to pick from I sometimes I think this tool is as good as my reasoning:
But I hope there are better ways.

I'm pretty sure if you attend one of the Beck's field shows this month Doc Cavanaugh will have some displays showing what I'm saying here. One shows how 5 varieties performed at 40 test plots.  One (we'll call it green) came in #1 using 40 plots across the midwest.   But if you focus just on Beck's marketing area it is obvious that red hybrid beat green hands down in this market.  Now if you were to look for something that does OK from Des Moines to Delaware that might be the choice.  But if you want something that does better between I-70 and Lake Michigan the red hybrid stands out.  And south of I-64 the black variety is nearly unbeatable.  But neither red nor black fits in a nation wide marketing plan.

Pioneer or Syngenta or whomever might come up with a great hybrid for SE Illinois.  But it may fall out of the running in Peoria.  They are focused on satisfying stockholders wanting a profit.  Beck's stockholders can gather around the dining room table and talk it out.

Beck's has an incredible number of hybrids, over 60 different varieties, traits, and variations in the 2013 product manual.  When I get to looking at the product guide I find areas where each is best adapted.  Even a regional family owned seed company has varieties that work better or not to well in some places.

At another time in the meeting we were discussing a certain variety.  The source of it chose not to produce it because while it works well in western Kentucky, it doesn't work as well in central/northern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Iowa. It is not widely adapted enough to fit the major's program.  Beck's is sourcing it from the other company and customers love it.

Clicker, in answer to your question, and not knowing any more than the info you gave, Beck's Phoenix Brand 6948A3 is a great hybrid.  Phoenix brand 6948A3 is a new addition to the "48" family. It has the great stress tolerance of Phoenix 6848A3 for MP/LP soils and offers more moderate plant height with additional yield. This product exhibits superior stress tolerance and won an incredible 81% of the time in lower yielding trials.

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