• By Dan Fromme •
Before you plant, check the tag on that bag of corn seed. Often in the seed industry, the same variety is sold under multiple brand names. In other words, just because the seed is in a different bag does not mean it is not the same variety.
This creates two significant problems for farmers:
Overpaying for seed: Because different brands often sell the same variety for very different prices, some farmers significantly overpay, perhaps not realizing that other brands sell the same variety at a lower price.
Lack of genetic diversity: When the same variety is sold under multiple brand names, it is easy for farmers to unknowingly purchase the same variety from multiple brands, thinking they are buying a unique variety from each brand. This can lead to a failure to establish the genetic diversity that many farmers strive for when selecting their seed.
Federal and state seed labeling regulations typically require bags of seed to be labeled with the variety name. Each variety has a unique set of numbers and/or letters, which are typically in a sequence of six to 10 digits.
Look closely at the tag at left. The variety name is 1065462. On the tag at right, the variety name is 101542-05. That means these two corn varieties are not the same. If the numbers were the same, you would have been planting the same variety.
Dr. Dan Fromme is the LSU AgCenter corn specialist based at Dean Lee Research and Extension Center in Alexandria. He may be reached at DFromme@agcenter.lsu.edu