Understanding Traited Seed Choices


When it comes to seed traits, many farmers understandably want to choose their level of genetics and protection. If you are considering trait protection for your fields, it is important to do your research so that you can adequately assess the level of protection you need.

It is essential that you consider the history of any field when you are choosing a seed trait stack. Doing so will allow you to get the greatest ROI from your seeds. Seed experts will tell you that, in general, you should spend the majority of your seed budget in areas where the risk is higher and spend less where the risk is lower.

Many times, you can purchase hybrids, such as hybrid seed corn, with an extra level of protection, allowing you to have the genetics you want while still using the best matched trait stack. No matter what the history of a field or your scouting reports, there are some basic guidelines when it comes to deciding how to best protect your fields.

  1. If you don’t have rootworm pressure, an above trait package should work well. This is especially true if you rotate crops annually or have minimal rootworm activity.
  2. If you have a lot of pests or have a field with a high yield potential consider stacked traits with rootworm and above-ground pest control. It is important to always match the seed you purchase to the particular field or you risk spending too much on traited seed. Adding internal protection with traits is always a good option.
  3. Multiple herbicide stacks are an option when it comes to stubborn weeds. These stacks allow a farmer to rotate chemicals from year to year to prevent resistance.

The impact of different seed traits on agriculture cannot be understated. The technology allows for more acres to be farmed with significantly less investment and manpower, allowing farmers to expand their operations if so desired. It helps prevent soil erosion. According to the USDA, just less then 20 years ago, only 25 percent of farmers were using traited seed. Today, that number has jumped to 90 percent.

Of course, the choices in seeded traits can be overwhelming so it is important to talk to your dealer for help in deciding which trait stacks are best for your operation. However, it also is important for farmers to do their research so that when they are talking with their dealer they know what they are looking for in a traited seed.