Foundation Seed Report

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.

A summary of the last five years of foundation seed sales.

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.

Left: Vince Egging, UMN farm crew, and Roger Wippler, MCIA, discuss the planting of a small soybean increase on the St. Paul campus. Right: Meyer M1 Sorter. Photos: MCIA.

Accepting Foundation Seed Orders

Photo © Minnesota Crop Improvement Association.

MCIA recently sent out foundation confirmation and order forms to certified seed growers. We are currently accepting orders for foundation seed on a first come, first served basis. Seed supplies are good but can change quickly, so order soon for best availability.

If you are interested in a variety not on our price list, give us a call at 612-625-7766. We will try to locate it from another state.

Payment should be sent with any orders.

For more information about foundation seed and variety licensing, please visit the Foundation Seed Services page of this website, here.

Foundation Seed Sales Drop as Crop Prices Rise

Foundation seed sales, 2017–2021.

The rising price of corn and soybeans is good for most farmers, but it may not have been good for small grain seed sales. Several producers of certified wheat and oat seed indicated reduced sales, during the spring of 2021, as farmers planted more acres of soybeans and corn. In turn, demand for foundation seed of wheat and oats was also slow.

The lack of a new wheat variety and lower demand had foundation wheat seed sales falling to levels not seen since the early 1970s. Overall wheat sales totaled just under 4,200 bushels. MN-Torgy, the 2020 new release, was well received and demand for foundation seed was very strong.

Oat sales were good with nearly 6,000 bushels sold this year, the third highest total since 2015. However, the previous two years were very strong and overall foundation oat seed sales declined in 2021. MN-Pearl and Deon continue to be the most popular varieties. Foundation barley seed sales increased, although the total sales amount to only 480 bushels.

Soybean sales are made up largely of food-grade types. Over 2,300 units were sold, the majority of which were purchased from other states or produced under contract.

Overall foundation seed sales in 2021 were lower than anticipated. We expected a slight decline due to the lack of a new variety. However, it is difficult to predict the impact of other factors such as commodity prices. The table included here summarizes the last five years of foundation seed sales.

Please visit MCIA’s Foundation Seed Services for more information on this topic.