Pioneer to sell soy seed by seed count

Pioneer Hi-Bred plans to start selling its soybean products by seed count per unit instead of by weight, beginning this fall for planting in 2013.

The DuPont-owned seed company, which until now had sold soybean seeds by the 50-pound (22.7-kilogram) unit, said Tuesday it will move to a 140,000-seed-per-unit measure in both Canada and the U.S.

Soybean seeds can potentially vary in size, depending on genetics and growing conditions, which in turn could affect the number of seeds in a 50-pound unit, the company said.

"With this change to selling by count, the number of seeds per unit will be consistent for Pioneer customers."

Pioneer’s Chatham, Ont.-based Canadian arm will still sell soybean seed in "traditional" paper bags as well as its PROBOX units, jumbo bags and PROBulk systems.

The Canadian arm’s president, Ian Grant, said the move to the seed count system comes "in direct response to our customers’ wants and needs, providing greater ease and accuracy of field-by-field planting."

Selling by seed count has become the standard in seed corn, and such moves in soybeans are seen as a benefit to growers who are still focused on planting by the pound, according to Ontario provincial soybean specialist Horst Bohner.

"Planting by the pound is not as accurate as it should be," Bohner said in 2009 when Monsanto moved to sell Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans by seed count. "If seed is sold by count and not by the pound it should lead to more accurate seeding rates being used."

Given the "increasing value" of seed, soybean growers sometimes "look to cap those investments by selecting smaller seed varieties," he said.

"However, not all small seed varieties are the best in terms of genetics or yield potential," said Bohner, who’s based at Guelph.
"Seed selection should not be based on seed size."

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