More than 61 percent of wheat growers told Monsanto their primary method for determining seed rates is to use a standard pounds-per-acre approach. Only 14 percent said they plant based on their desired count per acre. These results show that understanding optimal seeding rates is critical. Enter the ConnectIN System.
“This shows the tremendous need to get out the message that planting based on only pounds per acre does not accurately account for the variation in seed size and density,” said Jeff Koscelny, U.S. Wheat Commercial Lead at Monsanto. “Since that variation can have a dramatic impact on the number of seeds in a pound, planting based on only pounds per acre can mean growers aren’t maximizing yield potential.”
The ConnectIN System enables seed suppliers to provide growers Optimal Seeding Rate recommendations based on seed count per pound, geography, planting date, production practices and targeted seeds per acre. The survey, conducted in March 2016, targeted 500-plus-acre wheat growers representing WestBred wheat regions, including the Central Region (Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska), Montana, Northwest Region (Washington, Idaho, Oregon), Northern Region (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota), Southern Region (New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma) and the Southwest Region (California, Nevada, Arizona). The average respondent was 61 years old and farms 4,000 acres, with about 1,600 acres in wheat.
The highest percentage of growers saying they plant wheat based on only pounds per acre was in the Central Region with 74 percent, while the lowest percentage was in the Northern Region at 44 percent. Conversely, the highest percentage of growers planting based on desired stand count was 22 percent in the Northern Region compared to only 4 percent in the Central Region. In addition, about 18 percent said they determine seeding rates based on what their university/trusted advisor tells them.
For many, choosing to plant based on pounds-per-acre is because they don’t know the number of seeds in a pound for their variety. For others it is a lack of realization about the benefits or a lack of time to make adjustments.
“When growers know how many seeds there are in a pound of the variety being planted and then plant based on that count, they can improve production and profit potential by getting the most out of their land, seed and other production inputs,” said Koscelny.
Despite these results a majority of growers actually said they strongly agree that planting based on stand counts and plants per acre results in a superior stand, and nearly 45 percent said it was worth the time and effort.
ConnectIN System can be of great value to growers,” said Koscelny. “It processes a small sample of seeds in about a minute, and the Optimal Seeding Rate recommendations are then provided by the seed supplier at no cost to growers. With that information, growers can calibrate to plant the recommended rate for each variety with the goal of achieving an optimal stand for their fields.”