A seed company relationship that spans many decades of sales and test plots usually continues to build on proven success. Until it doesn't.
When Morristown, Indiana, farmer Ben Kuhn began farming with his dad, Rex, in 2004, they continued selling the same seed brand and using test plots to try and push their farm's success forward.
"Ten years ago, Dad and I agreed that we'd reached a time where our previous seed company didn't have all the needed options," Kuhn says. "The knowledge from Dyna-Gro (R), along with our test plots, opened our eyes to discover the right genetics and agronomics to improve yields in our no-till corn and soybeans."
LOCAL PARTNERSHIP IS CRITICAL
The Kuhns have mastered seed plot value over the years, spreading them across different soils and yield potentials. But it takes local knowledge and experience to place and manage the suitable hybrids and varieties where they can succeed.
Cody Hurst, local Nutrien Ag Solutions (R) Branch Seed Manager, and his predecessor, Jobe Kissel, developed a good rapport with Kuhn over the years. "Your products have to work, but the people behind them -- like agronomists, researchers and the Nutrien Ag Solutions team -- are just as important as the service we provide locally to farmers like Ben," Hurst says.
For example, Kuhn likes to use test plots to determine future seed selection without jumping all in on first-year new hybrids. "We value split planter tests to open our eyes to different things. A few years back, we learned to plant some ultra full-season corn (118 days), and such a consideration wasn't even on our radar before Dyna-Gro," he says.
As longtime seed dealers, the Kuhns know trust is earned through product and customer farm knowledge. Learning how corn hybrids and soybean varieties perform under different local environments and management practices builds faith in a brand.
"We value Cody and the Dyna-Gro team to help us put the right products on the right acres because not every hybrid fits," Kuhn says. "This gave us confidence to switch brands and learn the genetics on our farm to determine how we match numbers to other farmer customers."
KNOW WHEN TO PUSH MANAGEMENT
Top yields are rarely a function of genetics by environment alone. Hurst and Kuhn believe in accommodating customers' management styles. They don't sell racehorse hybrids on 175-bushel potential soils or defensive worker hybrids on highly productive soils.
Fungicides have become a commonplace yield booster, especially on hybrids that respond to being pushed. "However, if a customer hasn't seen value in fungicide investment, I will recommend different hybrids with the best disease tolerances for those acres," Hurst says.
In soybeans, Dyna-Gro Seed offers certain varieties that yield consistently no matter where they are placed versus other numbers with higher yield potential when pushed. "On some acres, we choose high-yielding soybeans that respond well to foliar feeding and fungicides to unlock that next yield increase for us," Kuhn says.
DIVERSE SEED AND TRAIT PORTFOLIO
Building a corn and soybean lineup each growing season that will provide yield consistency is a common goal. Hurst compiles different Dyna-Gro Seed lineups and trait packages in numerous ways depending on customer needs.
"We have a broad corn and soybean portfolio offering that ranges from consistent performers to extreme top end potential that demands top management and inputs," he adds. "Our main goal is helping farmers put the right product on the right acre and diversify the portfolio to achieve desired results year in and year out."
A diverse seed portfolio backed by research and knowledgeable people that delivers top yields across many environments and practices is what sold Ben and Rex Kuhn on Dyna-Gro Seed over a decade ago. "After Dad and I agreed to switch brands, we haven't looked back because we are happy with the results," Ben says.
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