Seed companies were not immune to the multitude of weather challenges and harvest issues this season.
But the trying year shouldn’t have much of an impact on the overall quality of seed or supply for 2020, according to industry representatives at the 38th annual Greater Peoria Farm Show.
“We had 1,000 acres we didn’t get planted in Bureau County (which had the fourth-highest amount of prevented plant acres nationwide this season),” said Todd Condit, area sales manager for LG Seeds, part of AgReliant Genetics, from Putnam (Putnam County).
“We were able to move it out west (and plant the seed in a timely manner in Nebraska),” he noted. “So, at the end of the day, we got 100% of our acres in and harvested. Yieldwise, we hit our targets.”
Geographical diversity serves as the key to manage production risk for most other seed companies.
“Almost all of our corn is under irrigation,” said Bob Lawless, agronomist for Golden Harvest. “And our soybeans were remarkably good this year. Germs are good and the supply is better than we thought.”
Many seed companies also have seed corn held over from this season due to a record amount of prevented plant cornfields (11.4 million acres).
Returned seed moves to cold storage and gets retested, and when applicable, rebagged for sale to farmers.
“We’ve got enough (seed) in the warehouse (for next year),” Condit said. “We’ve got a great mix of products out there. You’ve got to diversify (seed lineups). Look at this year.”
The late harvest delayed some early seed ordering activity. But seed representatives expect a run of orders this month.
As for demand, many analysts look for acres to bounce back next year following a record 19.6 million prevented plant acres across the nation this season.
“In 2019, acreage planted in principal field crops fell to 309.3 million acres (nationwide), down 10.3 million acres from the previous year,” said Todd Hubbs, University of Illinois ag economist. “Any analysis of principal crop acreage requires considering 2019 as an anomaly. Current market conditions support acreage increases in corn and soybeans in 2020.”
USDA estimates farmers planted 90 million acres of corn and 76.7 million acres of soybeans this season, although many farmers still question those numbers.
Looking ahead, Lawless sees some opportunities to plant more corn, if the weather cooperates next spring.
“The areas with a lot of prevented plant opens up opportunities for farmers to go with whatever crop they want (on those fields). With that being the case, they can go more corn,” he said. “Where we didn’t have as much prevented plant, many farmers will probably stick with their corn/soybean rotation.”