Look Beyond Seed Corn To Cut Production Costs


Many farmers look to save money on the cost of seed corn. The fact is, however, that cutting seed corn costs won’t do much for profits when you look at overall yield.

In order to save money and still produce quality and profitable corn and corn silage milk yields, there are cost-cutting measures that make more sense than skimping on seed corn. If you want your operation to be as profitable as possible, consider the following tactics:

  • Assess your planter. No matter how much time and money you invest in choosing and purchasing the best corn hybrids, if your planter isn’t performing as it should, none of that will matter. Always make sure that your seeds are optimally placed by keeping your planter in good working order and calibrating it regularly.
  • Choose silage hybrids. Dairy forage necessitates that quality, not just yield, is considered. Remember, fiber makes up to 50 percent of dry matter so any change can impact digestibility and, ultimately, milk production. Starch is another consideration since hard starch will not milk well. Softer kernels process easier and provide a cow with more energy.
  • Conduct soil tests. It does little good to spend a great deal of money on fertilizer because you wanted to save a few dollars on seed cost. Conducting soil tests will help make sure that you don’t have to.
  • Consider shorter-season hybrids. Planting winter forage earlier in the fall allows farmers to take advantage of the high forage quality and increased yields these shorter-season hybrids provide. The move also benefits soil health since more nutrients are retained. Early spring planting also may result in a higher harvest, as well. Today, seed corn companies are placing more energy into producing higher yielding and higher quality shorter season corn silage varieties. This means old-crop corn comes off  a bit earlier, a move that has proven to be profitable.
  • Examine the data. As is always the case, choose your best hybrids by reading tests of multiple seed corn products in multiple areas.
  • Take the temperature into account. In general, temperatures in the summer are getting lower while spring and fall temperatures have risen. This bodes well for cool season crops but the higher fall temps are still too cool to help warm season crops, including corn and sorghum.

Cutting costs where necessary is critical to the success of an operation. The key is to make sure you make cuts that make the most sense and don’t reduce your overall yield.