Farming Magazine had a question and answer session with Chris Meier, US Sales and Marketing Manager from Quality Seeds. We asked Chris about seed technology, seed prices and organic production. Quality Seeds is located in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.
Seeds are all priced differently from one company to the next. How do you describe your pricing to customers?
Quality Seeds Limited is a forage and turf seed supplier. We supply seed quality that well exceeds certified seed purity and germination standards. Our varieties are all tested prior to introduction to make sure they meet the highest quality standards for maximizing both milk and beef production per acre.
Seed pricing depends on many factors; the type of species, varieties within that species, where the seed production is done, the cost to produce the variety and the demand for the variety.
We do produce seed in Canada, the US and other parts of the world. It depends on the cultivar which region that it is grown in. Some species grow better in certain environments. Like any other farmer, there is always a risk of a crop failure due to weather, insect and disease pressure etc. in seed production. To reduce to risk of a crop failure in one region, we spread the seed production to various areas. That should provide a more consistent seed supply but it doesn’t always work out that way. Mother Nature can throw you a curve sometimes.
First time buyers can get overwhelmed when searching for seeds for their farm. How do you guide a customer into choosing the right products for their farm?
Every farmer has their own idea on what they want but sometimes are unsure.
At Quality Seeds we spend a lot of our time with the customer asking questions regarding their field management, what quality are they looking for? Is it for haylage/baleage or is it for dry hay or pasture? Is it just alfalfa they are we wanting or is it a mixture with grasses and what type of grasses. What soil type are we working with? Is it a clay soil or a sandy soil situation? Each has their unique set of questions and each has potentially different species and varieties to be recommended.
We would like to make sure the customer is getting the best and the right products for each field.
The idea of organic has been circling the industry for a while now. How does Quality Seeds work with organic production and the demand for it?
Organic production has seen a steady increase in the last few years. At Quality Seeds, we offer certified organic products to those that require them.
Is there a special formulation for mixing forages? What are some tips you would give to farmers who are just starting out?
For a starting farmer, know what you want as a final product. Field management, fertility, soil type, end use, harvesting method etc. all will influence the final result. From that, we can recommend the right variety or mixture.
How would you say forage/seeding technology will advance in a few years?
Breeding has come a long way in last few years. We are seeing low-lignin/RR alfalfa being introduced into the market this year. This is a huge improvement in forage digestibility and field management of alfalfa in dairy production. It will allow growers to maximize yield with delaying the harvesting date without losing forage quality. A farmer could potentially have the same yield with one less cut without sacrificing forage quality.
Grass hybridization is another area that is being worked on. Improving yield, hardiness, regrowth and quality are always being evaluated.