To help farmer minimize risks in atypical conditions, Syngenta Seeds recently launched a digital data-driven seed recommendation platform.

The NK Seed Analyzer combines artificial intelligence, two decades of agronomic information and a simple user interface, extending NK brand’s focus on innovation by adding value beyond seed.

The adaptability of the platform allows retailers and farmers to proactively plan for weather volatility, soil variability and planting specifications by seeing actual results from numerous sources. The tool complements retailers and agronomists’ expertise with 18 years of data at no cost to the user.

Historical agronomic information allows users to tailor their seed portfolio based on geographic location, soil productivity, precipitation levels, historic crop stress and performance of products by year and region.

Users are able to adjust these factors to understand how a specific corn hybrid or soybean variety would perform under a variety of conditions — information critical to making confident seed selections.

“While you can never control all the factors that affect a growing season, you can set yourself up for the best chance of success by choosing hybrids that perform well in fields like yours, regardless of the weather,” said Joe Bollman, NK corn product manager.

“The NK Seed Analyzer injects some much-needed predictability into a process that otherwise is anything but predictable. We’re getting more predictive to minimize the risk. There’s a lot more risk in farming today than there’s ever been with the input costs and the commodity markets as they are.”

Portfolio

Bollman also talked about NK’s expanded corn portfolio, breeding program and seed availability in a recent interview with AgriNews.

“We’re really excited about the corn portfolio this year. We talked last year about our reinvigorated corn portfolio, and this is just kind of the second act of that. We’ve continued to turn over the portfolio,” Bollman said.

“We’ve invested significantly in the U.S. seeds business a few years ago, and we’re starting to see the benefits of that coming. So, we’re turning the portfolio at a faster pace, which has allowed us to have the fastest rate of genetic gain in the industry over the last decade.”

Selection Analytics

The breeding process to select quality hybrids was once a long drawn out effort that would take years in some cases to reach a product goal. Changes in technology have allowed that quicker genetic gain.

“It’s definitely a lot more analytical versus 15 or 20 years ago when it was a numbers game with a number of plots, how many acres could you cover with a number of products. Now, it’s become a science game and a computer game where you start to do more predictions,” Bollman said.

“You’re making the initial selections, and you’re throwing out products before you ever actually test them in the field. So, it allows us to bring products to the market faster and continue to ramp up that rate of genetic gain.”

Seed Switch Impact

There were reports of switching to earlier hybrids this year due to late planting. The seed industry typically projects product demands and have quantities available accordingly.

Bollman was asked if the switch to earlier hybrids impacts the seed supply for 2020.

“It definitely can have an impact on the business. You end up with more inventory on the fuller season side, and more is used of the early season. But that’s something that we keep in constant contact with our sales teams about. We were adjusting seed production right up to the day that the seed was going in the ground,” he said.

“But the fallback always in the industry is you do have the ability to go to winter production to gain some, but there’s added cost and potential risks there with it.

“We had a really good plan coming out of the winter months and into spring, then spring 2019 hit and we had to adjust and adapt to it — no different than the farmers did.

“But that allows us to be in a good spot for this year so we can hopefully get back to a more typical year for 2020 and have the seed supply that we need and the maturities that we need.”

Tom C. Doran can be reached at 815-780-7894 or tdoran@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow him on Twitter at: @AgNews_Doran.

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