PEORIA, Ill. — Despite a slow start and dry end, this past
growing season met or exceeded yield expectations, said seed company
representatives at the Greater Peoria Farm Show.
Heavy rains rolled into Illinois in late May delaying
planting and resulting in re-plants.
Rod Parkinson, Wyffels Hybrids district sales manager in
Knox and Peoria counties, said his area had six to 10 inches of rain the last 10
days of May pushing planting into June.
“With that being said, the yields just came through
tremendously,” he said. “I believe the cool weather we had in August really
helped with all of the dryness and helped get us through that tough period.
“There were a lot of re-plants around June 9 to June 12, and
the late-planted corn really did phenomenal. All of it got black layer, and as
far as I know, most of it got to about 25 (percent) to 26 percent, so it was
manageable at harvest time and yields were very good on the replant
“From a corn yield standpoint, I think, overall everything
went as expected or better than expected from any seed company for the most
part,” said David Murphy, LG Seeds resource manager in central Illinois.
“Everyone was pretty happy with their yields, but there were
small geographic areas that also had their own issues. For the most part,
everyone had a wet spring and then dry later in the growing season.”
“Soybeans were kind of a mixed bag due primarily to planting
date. Those that were able to get some soybeans in before we got shut down with
rain at the end of May had some very good yields. As we went later and later in
June to plant, as expected, those yield started to drop off on those products,”
“A lot of what we saw is the earlier-planted stuff had a
little bit of yield advantage compared to what was planted in later June and the
late-planted stuff struggled,” said Clay Edwards, Stone Seed northern Illinois
regional sales manager.
“Earlier soybean maturities were a little stronger than some
of the fuller season stuff, but a lot of that was probably due to the planting
date and the weather conditions that we had.”
The seed company representatives didn’t see any crop disease
concerns this past season, but there were pockets of heavy rootworm
“From a disease pressure standpoint, once we got past the
wet part of the growing season, we actually did really well. We have several
hybrids in our corn lineup that respond really well to sidedress nitrogen and
fungicide,” Edwards said.
“We saw some big yield advantages off of that. Our
SmartStax, which is our two below ground modes of action — kind of our best
product portfolio to protect against corn rootworm pressure — all of those
performed very well,” he said.
“I would say disease was a little bit lower than normal, and
that was a nice bonus. It ended up being so dry, and we just didn’t have a lot
of anthracnose or gray leaf spot,” Parkinson said.
“Rootworms were heavier in pockets. It was more so on some
of that long-term continuous corn where there had been a problem in the past.
“When you get to eastern Illinois, I think, they definitely
had some more issues. It really wasn’t a huge problem for us in Peoria County,
but there were some pockets of it.”
In looking toward next year, the seed representatives are
excited about the newest offerings their respective companies have for
“We’re really confident in our lineup. We have a lot of new
products coming down the lineup to fill in some gaps in maturity levels,”
Edwards said. “Overall we’re very, very satisfied with our performance this
year, and a lot of that we have to attest to our people who work for us.”
“We have a very strong sales staff and a lot of support from
our corporate structure, and we try to live and work hard by our motto of we
live here, we farm here and we know Illinois,” Edwards said.
Parkinson and Murphy concur that SmartStax will play a key
role in next season’s cropping plans.
“Looking at next year, industrywide, I think, there’s a
strong switch to the SmartStax varieties,” Murphy said.
“We’ve seen rootworm pressure pop up, and it was very
damaging in areas throughout central and north-central Illinois in places that
we had never seen it before, so SmartStax is going to be a good management tool
as we go forward, and there are a lot of companies bringing new SmartStax
varieties including LG Seeds.
“We have a new (SmartStax) that we introduced last year.
This will be its second year, and (it) had extremely good yield in addition to
the trait package.”
“We’re extremely excited about the new products coming out
next year. I’ve been here 10 years, and I think we have the best lineup we’ve
had in the 10 years I’ve been here,” Parkinson said.
“A couple of products that really standout includes 7888,
the new 113-day SmartStax that’s done very well in the first trials and all of
the third-party plots. We have a new 110-day — 6628 — that’s done phenomenal.
“We have a very well-rounded package with VT Triple Pro and
SmartStax and we’re probably one of few companies that’s bringing out new
non-GMO numbers and we’re excited about that.”
“The non-GMO market has grown by 35 percent at Wyffels in
one year,” Murphy said.
Murphy also predicts a continued trend toward more soybean
acres in 2014.
“Overall, looking at how we’re going to manage our acres
next year, I’ve seen a slight switch away from corn more to 50-50 rotation and I
saw a large switch last year. There will be smaller switch this year of moving
corn acres to soybeans, I think, primarily due to commodity prices,” he
“The soybeans have had strong prices this fall. As guys are
making their plans for next spring, that’s one of the key factors that they’re
looking at in the profitability.”