30 Sep 2021
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Start Next Year's Seed Plan During This Year's Harvest

There are many questions that are essential when building a seed plan, and the best time to determine those answers may be during harvest. The Mix Matters Planning Tool can help growers use these considerations to walk through the process of their seed plan for next year.         

Before we discuss why harvest is the best time to start, let’s consider what is essential to a seed plan.

  1. What products are we going to plant?
  2. What fields will get planted with what products?
  3. What maturity ranges will be planted on what fields?
  4. What fields will be planted in what order, if weather cooperates?
  5. What traits will be used on what fields?
  6. What seed treatments will be used on what products on what fields?
  7. What fungicide treatments will be used on what products on what fields?
  8. What Nitrogen management practices will be used on what products on what fields?
  9. What type of tillage will be practiced on what fields?
  10. What planting rates, including VR, will be used on what products on what fields?

For some operations, not every question will be essential to answer before planting begins, and for others, specific needs or opportunities may require even more considerations. But for most, this should be a fairly complete list of considerations for an effective seed plan capable of the highest R.O.I. for a farm.

Let’s start with “what products are we going to plant?”

Isn’t that where every seed plan begins? From the combine seat, we start analyzing the results of our previous year’s seed plan and considering products for next year. We note yield, standability, plant health, drydown, grain quality, etc. And while we make our observations, we reflect on the impact of our weather, and the success of our management decisions, such as planting population, tillage, fertility, herbicides, fungicides, even tiling and irrigation. We now have digital tracking and analysis tools to add empirical evidence to the opinions formed from the combine seat. We start reviewing plot results that are available to us during harvest and we talk with other operations, seed dealers, and other trusted advisors about what they plan to plant next year.

Harvest is when we begin to build both our short list of products we would plant again, and our short list of new products to consider planting for the first time.

Now let’s consider the other nine questions, all of which include “what fields?”

While considering which products to plant, the most crucial decision for a grower is field placement. That singular decision affects nine of our ten questions on what is essential to a seed plan. Product field placement is directly, and often critically, impacted by the goals the grower has for each field, the challenges faced in each field, and the farming management practices used on each field.

In addition to the goals, challenges, and management practices for every field in every year, soil attributes like texture and natural drainage, as well the weather, directly impact how any product will perform in that field. If we start making decisions about the products themselves during harvest, shouldn’t we start working through the considerations that will drive those decisions? Isn’t harvest the best time to understand both the products, and how our fields will likely impact the performance of those products, to the best of our ability?

For example:

Products

 Fields

 Yield

Productivity Level

 Standability

Drainage 

 Drydown

Drought Stress 

 Disease Resistance

Disease Pressure 

 Plant Health/Intactness

Nitrogen Management 

So, if harvest is the best time to start building next year’s seed plan, how is the best way to do it?

Harvest requires both considerable time and energy to safely complete, and for many it may seem too overwhelming a time to start planning field by field for next year’s product selection and field placement. But harvest occurs field by field, and data is collected field by field, so why not record observations and consider advice, field by field, as we go through harvest?

Like yield analysis, this is where a digital tool can help growers quickly, simply, and effectively process and record those seed plan consideration, while safely completing harvest tasks.

Once such tool is the Mix Matters Tool Planning App, or the MMT for short. It is mobile app, formatted for smart phones and tablets (and office PC’s). It offers users the ability to quickly create fields for an entire operation, in a matter of seconds, or bring in fields already created in Advantage Acre.

The Mix Matters Tool offers field by field:

  • User input on all goals, challenges, and management practices.
  • Automatic integration, and consideration, of soil texture, drainage, and growing season weather.
  • Recommendation advice from the local LG Seeds Agronomist answering those 9 decision questions.
  • Product placement and management advice which users can accept, modify, or reject.
  • Ability for the user to add competitive products to their MMT Seed Plan.
  • Ability for growers to refine their MMT Seed Plan through collaboration with their LG Seeds Dealer.
  • Ability for growers and dealers to collaborate on the MMT Seed Plan with DSM’s and Agronomists.
  • Ability for the user to record observations and revise decisions throughout harvest and up to planting.
  • Better seed plans should lead to better performance and a higher R.O.I. for your operation.

From observing field results on yield monitors, to scouring plot results for new products, to in depth conversations with seed sellers and trusted advisors, to finalizing the seed order, building a really good seed plan is a process. And like most processes, one that is methodical, and carefully considered, is more likely to be of greater benefit than one that is less so. Seed plans that are started during harvest simply offer more time to gather and consider good information and advice, than seed plans that begin after harvest. The Mix Matters Tool provides an easy, fast, and accurate way to access all goals, challenges, and practices for the whole farm, at the field level, helping growers take maximum advantage of an early start to a seed plan during harvest.