By Roger Wippler, Foundation Seed Services Manager
What a Difference a Year Makes
Who would have thought, after the drought last year, we would have been dealing with extremely wet conditions this spring? Overall, Foundation seed supplies and quality were not seriously impacted by the drought. Following is a summary of a busy and productive year.
Foundation Seed Sales
Late last fall, grain prices for wheat and oats were rising and had farmers thinking about planting more small grains. By late winter, the price of corn and soybeans had climbed, and planting plans remained in flux. The late wet spring resulted in more plans changing on the fly. It will be interesting to see how early planting intentions compare to actual acres planted.
Overall Foundation Seed sales increased 10 percent compared to 2021. Much of the increase was due to the release of the new Minnesota wheat release MN-Rothsay. Wheat sales totaled just over 5,400 bushels. The variety MN-Torgy also had good demand.
Oat sales were good with 6,300 bushels sold this year, up 6 percent over 2021. MN-Pearl and Reins were the most popular varieties. South Dakota released a new oat variety, SD-Buffalo, which may do well in Minnesota. Foundation barley sales maintained modest levels with 400 bushels sold.
Soybean sales are largely made up of food-grade types. We sold 2,100 units, down slightly from last year. The decline was primarily due to drought-related poorer yields at Rosemount.
Color Optic Sorter & Seed Conditioning
In late January, the Foundation Seed Program purchased a Meyer M1 RGB + Shape Optical Sorter. We were able to get the unit set up this spring. It has already proven to be a valuable asset when conditioning some of our foundation seed lots.
We have used it for both soybeans and barley to improve seed purity and quality. The smaller size machine was perfect for use on small quantities of breeder seed, prior to planting. We will continue to do additional training and look for ways to best utilize this equipment.