Every Kernel Counts – Raising the Bar on Seed Purity

- Jim Schweigert

Increasing seed sales is tough. The market is competitive, quality sales employees are expensive and farmers can be finicky. Improved seed purity, however, can give a seed company a competitive advantage in two areas.

Herbicide Tolerance — Precision planting equipment and stand evaluations allow farmers to know exactly which seeds germinated and produced a healthy plant. While germination rates are key, seed purity can be just as important. When a farmer plants herbicide tolerant traits, a post-spray stand evaluation allows the farmer to see which plants survived. Selling high-purity seed for herbicide tolerance can give farmers 1-2 percent more productive plants that can contribute to higher yields.

Low GMO Presence — Today, more grain end users are paying a premium for low GMO presence in conventional corn. Farmers selling corn to these non-GMO end users want to know their seed doesn’t contain high levels of GMO presence. Seed companies that have low GMO presence in their conventional corn earn a significant marketing advantage over those without test results or higher GMO levels.

To take advantage of these high seed purity opportunities, a seed company needs to ensure its seed is produced to the highest standards. Here are two ways Gro Alliance provides that high-purity seed.

Isolation — In the seed production field, distance from other corn pollen sources is key to achieving seed purity. Those distances range from 165 to 1,320 feet, plus male border, from competitive pollen. Having diverse seed production locations allows Gro Alliance to meet any isolation standard necessary to achieve the desired seed purity standard.

Kernel Cleaning — Each piece of equipment, from harvest to conditioning, must be free of contaminating kernels. At Gro Alliance, our process is ISO 9001 certified and requires a full kernel clean between each hybrid. Every inch is visually inspected and documented with an employee signature. Further, our seed conditioning facilities have modern kernel cleaning tools, such as automatic bin vibrators, central vacuum systems and smooth transitions that eliminate catch points.

Achieving a high level of seed purity is a driving force behind every facility improvement project at Gro Alliance. As a trusted seed producer, we have a responsibility to ensure our clients are able to serve every market, no matter how strict the purity requirements. Ultimately, by enabling higher seed purity standards, Gro Alliance helps both farmers and seed companies earn more profit.