18 Jan Seed Quality
Seed Quality – S&W Seed Company and Sorghum Partners Long Term Reputation
Since its inception, Sorghum Partners has been focused on providing the best seed quality in the industry. The word “quality” can invoke a wide range of meanings depending on whom you ask and to what you are referring. If you ask a group of farmers what seed quality means, it will not take long to get a consensus of their expectations — it starts with what they see when they open the bag and ends with the appearance of the crop in the field.
For those of us at a seed company, one of our first thoughts is what the seed looks like when you open the bag. This is our way of meeting a customer, whether it be a new customer or one that has been with us for decades. Seed bags are a great visual representation of a company. We all spend time cussing and discussing how our bags and logos look. At the end of the day what sticks in a grower’s mind is that first impression the seed makes when that bag is opened, and the seed is emptied into their planter. Clean, easy flowing seed is what growers need and expect. Over the past century, engineers have been improving planting equipment to evolve from fluted feed systems like we see in grain drills, to the plate planter of the 1940’s, to the vacuum planters of today. There has even been research conducted to develop a planter to place corn seed in the furrow germ down. Current row crop planters and air seeders all operate at maximum efficiency when the seed presented to them is uniform in its ability to flow.
Flowability is why we in the industry spend time and money examining seed coatings. If we can improve flowability and appearance at the same time, we are likely to make it part of our product line. Clean seed is straight forward for experienced seeds people with good equipment. This process has also evolved from simple streams of air to more sophisticated air systems, gravity tables, and color sorters. S&W Seed Company invests continuously in people, equipment, and technology at our seed cleaning facilities at New Deal, TX and Nampa, ID to keep up with these innovations and to ensure that we are providing clean seed to our customers. We take quality seriously and use a four-stage inspection system in our plants where seed quality is inspected routinely during the cleaning process.
Ensuring the quality of the genetics that is in bag delivered to the farm gates is achieved by steps that most people have never witnessed. As someone who has spent decades in research and development, I continuously think about genetic quality, but I’ll talk more about data-based decisions in a future blog. We know that growers spend vast amount of time deciding on which hybrid to purchase and plant. This decision involves pouring over yield data and talking with neighbors and advisors to make a hybrid decision. Quality seed and data assist in making the right seed purchasing decisions.
There are also expectations that there are no weed seeds in the bag and that germination is as high as possible. Genetics purity and lab verified seed quality fall on the shoulders of one of the most important, and dare I say least known, teams at a seed company, the production team. Seed production teams work tirelessly from long before planting season until well into the fall making sure that genetic purity, species purity and germination levels exceed any standards set by law. If you have ever been involved in hybrid seed production either as a seed industry professional or contracted seed grower, you know that the production team spends countless hours throughout the season ensuring these things. This all requires lots of planning and meticulous oversight of processes like planting, rouging, inspecting, cleaning, and harvesting.
S&W Seed Company has invested significantly in people, processes, and infrastructure over the past two years to further our goal of being among the top tier of global seed companies for customer satisfaction. These investments ensure that when you open a bag of S&W Seed Co seed that our breeders developed, our production team produced, and our manufacturing team processed, you will not only be impressed by what you see, but you will know that we take the word “Quality” seriously. So seriously that we offer a Quality Guarantee to all of our customers: if you are not satisfied with the quality of the seed you purchase from one of our dealers, we will replace it to ensure your satisfaction.