Foundation Seed Report

By Roger Wippler, Foundation Seed Services Manager

I thought I knew the answers, but then they changed the questions. Over the years, I have learned that try as we might to find some predictability, the world of agriculture is ever-changing. The weather certainly plays a big part in that unpredictability. With all the snow last winter, what looked like it might be a wet, late spring, turned out not to be the case. Small grains, corn, and soybeans were planted in a timely manner. Now a couple of months later, rain has been scarce in many areas of the state and high temperatures have pushed the crops along at record rates. Like all seed producers, our foundation seed is in the ground. Now we wait for Mother Nature to provide the best growing conditions.

For MCIA, wheat and oats generally make up most of our foundation seed sales, so we are always looking for favorable conditions and good prices for small grains. Early intentions show fewer acres of wheat, barley, and oats being planted this year as strong corn and soybean prices continue to put pressure on small grain acres.

Foundation Seed Sales

Overall foundation seed sales increased 15 percent compared to 2022. However, with no new wheat variety this year, foundation wheat sales dropped about 20 percent compared to last year. MN-Rothsay and MN-Torgy made up the majority of wheat sales, which totaled just over 4,300 bushels. Demand for oats was good, with sales at 6,100 bushels, just under 2022 totals. MN-Pearl, and Rushmore were popular varieties. Foundation barley sales maintained modest levels at 400 bushels sold.

Soybeans were the reason overall seed sales rose in 2023. Sales more than doubled over last year because MCIA had more contract production of specialty type varieties. A summary of the last five years of foundation seed sales follows.

Variety Licensing Services

Variety licensing continues to be an important part of the Foundation Seed Program. Over the past year we have prepared new license agreements for winter barley and several soybean lines. We continue to work with plant breeding programs and parties interested in new materials.