As a seed dealer, I usually hear the negative side of seed genetics and the gripes people have towards what their seed did or did not do. Corn either gets too tall or doesn’t get tall enough. Soybeans had a tendency to get too tall and lodge, or they were so short they wouldn’t get in the header. It had become something I was used to hearing about and I knew some of the issues were related to the management practices on each individual farm, or due to poor placement of certain hybrids or varieties on soil types.

Seed Genetics

Fast forward to a few days ago, Ben Amerin(CEO and Founder – Singular Agronomics) asked me to proofread the October newsletter. At first it was tough to read because it had a lot to do with seed and genetics. “Seed didn’t matter” was how I first felt while reading it. How can I, as a seed dealer and someone who benefits from seed sales, actually read this and give an honest proofread? I took an old path from my college days and ignored the subject matter. I just looked at the details of how it was written, and moved on about my evening.


Well, I couldn’t just let it go. I went down to my office and started looking at numbers. Specifically, The yield data I have from all of our research plots, so I started crunching. I went through the averages of each and every variety over a span of three years. Once I had that compiled, I averaged out each variety over each location’s three year average. I couldn’t believe what I had found. Every variety of soybean was within one bushel from the 3.9 clear up to a 4.9 maturity. Corn had more of a difference but not significant. I saw an 8 bushel yield difference across the board but the thing I noticed was, the longer season corn had higher yields.

Time will Tell

I stared at it and all I could think about was how the owner of Taylor seed, Brad Taylor, always talks about the trends. You can’t take one year of data and base your operation on what happened in that single year. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short farming career it’s this, every year is different.

seed genetics

Back to the seed and genetics. After compiling all of my information, I realized I had overlooked something I already knew. All the complaints over the years about seed were pretty similar and I always looked back on the conditions and management where the seed was placed. Most of the time, poor management and poor weather conditions contributed more towards failure than an individual genetic trait. We still have to place the correct seed on farms with common sense as well. We don’t want to put a hybrid with known green snap issues out in an area with significant risk to green snap. Also, we don’t want to put a high yielding race horse variety of beans up in an area where stress tolerance takes precedence.

Maximize management


As producers, it is crucial to always view our operations in their entirety. It’s always so easy to blame one thing in particular for crop failures, such as genetics. In order to maximize any given acre’s potential, we need to maximize our overall management. This also includes potential operation failures. As humans, it is in our nature to not fix things that aren’t broken. Thus, acknowledging problems will lead to growth and a new max potential.

Joe Heathman
South Fork Seed Co
Singular Agronomics Distributor – East Central Kansas

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Designed primarily as a plant starter, and for foliar application.  Young plants require high Phosphorus for proper growth; MASTERBLEND’s 9-45-15 low Nitrogen and high Phosphorus fit ehe needs of young plants very well.  This formula can also be used whenever soils indicate the need for elevated Phosphate levels

Specifically designed for use as a blossom booster for Orchids, but it should not be limited to just one plant species.  This works very well on all types of flowering material, especially when the grower requires improved bud set, bud count, and also better color and size of flowers.  Use MASTERBLEND 10-30-20 throughout the flowering stage, then switch back to the regular analysis when flowering is finished.  Fertilizer amounts need not be varied.

General Purpose formula that is designed for application with any sprayer, injector or proportioner.  This is an all-purpose formula, safe for all growing plants.  No sodium, sulfate or chloride is used in formulation.  The result is a balanced solution which will not “fall out” to clog equipment or soils.

Bio-Builder H is a Humic based formulation designed to fit the standard operation with a modest level of Catalyst and nutrients present to support most operations and scenarios.  Will blend with other nutrients and products as long as a PH level of 6.5 or greater is maintained.  Bio-Builder H can be a stand-alone product or an addition to your current starter program.  Bio-Builder H excels in most soils, however will really stand out in high PH environments.  This formulation is an excellent option for legumes.

Bio-Builder H+ is a stand-alone product.  As the workhorse of the class, it has been formulated with high PH soils, or higher salt environments in mind.  Bio-Builder H+ has also been designed with a higher level of Catalyst and salt-safeguarding components.  This formulation has shown great response in less than ideal conditions, or unhealthy soils.  However, it is not recommended to be combined with other products, as the higher concentrations of ingredients could cause blending or fall out issues.

Bio-Builder F is a companion product, designed with tank compatibility in mind.  This formulation blends very well with most products by utilizing the high water-soluble components of the Bio-Builder class.  All this is done while maintaining a high level of various catalysts to support a diverse soil biome.  Bio-Builder F tends to perform very well in high yield environments.

Seaweed extract is a natural fertilizer that can boost crop yields by providing essential micronutrients and growth hormones. Kelp can be applied through foliar spray, root drench or soil application, and has been shown to improve seed germination, growth, flowering and fruit yields.  Additionally, it promotes stress tolerance, pest and disease resistance, enhances soil structure and increases nutrient uptake.

Yucca acts as a natural surfactant, wetting agent, and plant bio-stimulant and is derived from a flowering desert plant.  Yucca has been shown to reduce plant stress from drought, heat and salinity.  It increases plant cell wall gas, and liquid exchange.  Applications to soil will assist in the infiltration and absorption of water and nutrients.  Yucca mixes well with most products. As always, jar testing is recommended before application.

Sugar’s general purpose is to supply a food source for soil microorganisms and support plant growth.  Active microbes will help to make soil nutrients more plant available.  Sugars also work in residue decomposition.  It is compatible with most products and can be used with a starter, foliar application or soil application.  As always, jar testing to ensure compatibility is recommended.