Bill Wyffels
Bill Wyffels

OXFORD JUNCTION, Iowa — Wyffels Hybrids Inc. has taken a path of entrepreneurship and independence.

“We think that makes us significantly different to work with,” said Bill Wyffels, president of Wyffels Hybrids, during the Corn Strategies event hosted by the seed company.

Corn Strategies 2013 was held in east-central Iowa at the Willimack Family Farms. The farmers have been planting Wyffels hybrids for almost 10 years.

“The Willimack family members have been gracious hosts, and this is a great opportunity to work with folks that have the same common goals as our family business,” Wyffels said.

Gary Willimack and his sons — Brent, Jayson, Matt and Scott — operate Willimack Family Farms. This fifth-generation operation raises corn and soybeans, and the family operates a trucking company.

Located in Geneseo, Ill., the Wyffels company started from a farming operation.

“My father was an entrepreneur, and he was always trying to find new ways for his farming operation,” Wyffels explained. “My brother, Bob, and my four sisters grew up in that type of environment, where things happened right in front of us, and oftentimes we were a part of the process.”

Through experimentation, the farmer found oat varieties that had a better stand.

“My dad started to sell seed oats from an ear corn crib,” the company president said. “That turned to hybrid corn, and in the mid-’70s, we started a farmer dealer system.”

In 1976, 13 farmers became seed representatives for the company that is owned brothers Bill Wyffels and Bob Wyffels, vice president of production.

“Our business doubled the following year, and it doubled the year after that,” Bill Wyffels said. “We started to hire district managers, and we outgrew our facilities.”

In the early ‘90s, Wyffels Hybrids started to market high oil corn.

“We were one of the first companies to market that top cross process that improved the oil and protein in the seed,” the company president noted. “It sold for $40 per unit more than other seed because there were premiums for the grain. However, that was not an easy sale initially.”

With the onset of the technology that resulted in seed with resistance to rootworm, corn borer and different types of herbicides, Wyffels said, that eliminated the value of seed with a top cross process.

This past year, Wyffels customers had the opportunity to purchase several different corn hybrids that included refuge in a bag, which provide more convenience to farmers.

“We have SmartStax products with two modes of action to corn rootworm and corn borer and tolerance to both Roundup and Liberty herbicides with RIB; we have hybrids with action against corn borer and corn rootworm and tolerance to Roundup with RIB blended in; and we have seed with two modes of action for corn borer and tolerance to Roundup with RIB,” the company president said.

“These products made up nearly 75 percent of the seed planted by customers this year, up from about 12 percent the previous year,” he reported. “It is a benefit to the producer because of the simplicity and also the increased number of rootworm and corn borer resistant seeds in the bag to protect the potential upside yield.”

New hybrids are coming to the market at a rapid pace.

“The products that were planted this past year, two years ago, 70 percent of them didn’t exist,” Wyffels said. “We are excited about that because we are bringing products to the marketplace faster that will make a difference.”

Since the last two growing seasons have been challenging, Wyffels said, he does not think farmers have experienced the potential that is locked in the kernel.

“If you have average or better stands this year, I think you will see a tremendous improvement on top end yields like perhaps you’ve never seen before,” he added.

Wyffels Hybrids also markets 11 hybrids that are non-GMO.

“We give you options to plant,” the company president said.

“Our organization wants to be the No. 1 spot on your quick-call list on your phone,” Wyffels stressed. “We want to be there to support you, we want to be your No. 1 choice and you can only find that out by working with our brand.”

“I want to thank those who do business with us today,” he said. “And we’d like to have the opportunity to work with you who do not do business with us today.”