Soybean seed to be sold by count

As soybean seed prices increase, so has the switch to sell seed by the count.

Both Syngenta and Monsanto recently announced that they will sell all o
f their soybean seed by the count for the 2011 growing season – moving away from selling seed by the pound.

When selling by weight, farmers do not know how many seeds are in a bag. And, with soybean seed becoming more expensive, it is important for farmers to not buy more than they need. Selling seed by the count allows them to make better business decisions.

Corn has been sold by the seed count for nearly 45 years.

Beginning in 2011, Syngenta will sell its soybeans based on 140,000 seeds per unit in all packaging types. Most of the bags will weigh between 40 to 60 pounds with a maximum weight limit of 63.6 pounds.

“The move to sell by seed count helps farmers determine costs and will create more accurate orders,” said Doug Tigges, Syngenta Seeds soybean product manager. “That would allow for better management of inventory and could reduce the amount of returns for the company.”

Monsanto’s United States Soybean Product Management Lead, Jennifer Ralston, agrees, “The farmers like it,” she said in a Missouri Farmer Today article.

Monsanto started selling by count in 2009 and required seed companies to sell its Roundup Ready to Yield soybeans in 140,000 seed units. In 2011, they will sell all of their soybean seeds by count.

For farmers and seed companies, selling by count seems to be a win-win situation.

According to the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), the National Conference on Weights and Measures recently passed a vote to standardize testing methods and procedures to verify seed count labeling, which will positively impact farmers and seed companies.

"The manner in which seed is purchased and sold has significantly changed in recent years and this vote will help provide regulatory uniformity for seed testing," said Andy LaVigne, ASTA president and chief executive officer. “It will have a positive impact on seed companies’ and farmers’ bottom-lines.”

As the benefits to selling soybean seeds by the count continue to outweigh those by weight, it will be interesting to see what other seed companies will follow in Syngenta and Monsanto’s footsteps.

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