BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN SEED COMPANIES AND GROWERS

Todd Sears

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Each year, seed companies, universities, and others invest millions of dollars into field trials demonstrating how different hybrids perform in almost every imaginable environment. It’s extremely valuable research for the future of the food chain. And for seed companies, it is a tremendous marketing tool to demonstrate yield and quality performance.

But let’s face it, that investment can get lost when it comes time to connect to the most important target audience – growers. With so much data to sort through, it can be easy for a grower to become overwhelmed and just go with what is familiar.

I talk often about the “traditional” way agriculture works and how technology can bring profit and value to the farm. I’ve been in a lot of discussions where the question was asked, “What’s the best way to select my seed?”

Well, the traditional way might be to search through the internet, to review several seed catalogs, or to visit with a trusted local dealer. But again, so much information, so little time. With the right technology, though, farmers can get the data they really are looking for and they can connect directly with seed companies. Net result: maximize yield and quality year after year.

YieldFax: Making smart decisions about seed

Last year, IntelliFarms launched a tool we call YieldFax, an online database of seed trials for growers to filter through and compare against one another. It allows farmers to filter trial results, specific to ZIP code, by different criteria including soil type, maturity, pest resistance. It shows results meeting these criteria, and ranks them by yield performance.

YieldFax doesn’t tell grower what seed to buy. Instead, it gives the information needed to investigate new options or have a conversation with a seed supplier.

The information currently available in the tool is robust:

  • Over 1.5 million field trial studies
  • 10,000 current corn & soy hybrids on the market
  • 1,500 US counties
  • Over 500 US seed companies represented in the data

 

A direct connection for seed companies

YieldFax tries to make it easy for farmers to connect with a seed company if they are interested in more conversation. Whenever one of a company’s trials is present in the rankings, the listing is always accompanied by the company’s phone number - easy, straightforward means to contact them.

I want YieldFax to be more than just a listing of trial results. It opens up dialogue between growers and seed companies so they can discuss options, and ultimately, lead the grower to select seed that is going to be most productive for his needs. In my mind, YieldFax is a part of our industry’s efficiency story - with planting seed that is more likely to succeed in an environment and operation, it’s a way of maximizing the potential of our land and water.

We’re working with various independent seed companies to upload their own field trial results straight into YieldFax (it’s a really easy template and uploading process). In doing so, that company will have their data available to compare with others and become a part of a two-way conversation. In our mind, that data is just as important for the grower to see as a decision-maker, as it is for the seed company to show as a marketer.

With tools like YieldFax, my hope is that we’re not just building a bridge between seed companies and growers, but also helping create a solid path toward increased farm profits and more efficient, sustainable practices.