In an effort to save money on small grain seed costs, many farmers will reserve seed from an initial crop and use that reserved seed for the next few years. While there is no arguing that this will save money on annual seed costs, that is where the savings end.
Annual seed costs are just a small part of the equation when it comes to a profitable small grain crop. Further, what is saved in seed costs likely will cost farmers in a variety of other ways, including lower yields and decreased profits. Purity issues also will negatively impact yields down the line.
Planting certified seeds comes with the peace of mind of knowing that your seed has been adequately treated. While it is true that seed treatment can be performed by a farmer, this type of treatment simply cannot compete with professionally treated seed.
There are several other reasons that experts recommend planting certified seed every year. Here are some of the most important:
- Return on investments. Perhaps the most compelling argument for planting certified seed year in and year out is the fact that doing so gives you the best chance at a quality, high-yield crop. If you are going to invest time and resources into a small grain crop, why risk all of it on a seed that might not perform the way it should?
- Certification. Certified seed means that the seed you purchase meets limitations on the amount of weed and other types of crop seed. In other words, your seed is clean.
- Seed purity. Certified seed is pure seed because it must meet high standards for varietal purity. Therefore, the crop you want to plant is the variety you are planting.
- Identity and traceability. End-users often require specific varieties. Certified seed provides proof of seed identity. Further, many markets demand that crops are able to be verified. The documentation that accompanies certified seed allows you to prove that you are selling the product you claim to be selling.
- Quality assurance. Certified seed must meet quality requirements. When you purchase certified seed, you can rest easier knowing that it has been inspected in the field and the processing plant.
Farmers face tight margins every year. And while cutting corners can be tempting, and sometimes even make good sense, failing to plant certified seeds is never worth the risk.