Wheat seed
The Wheat Insight System provides wheat growers a way to purchase and plant wheat seed to optimize yield and profit potential.

NEW ORLEANS — WestBred has introduced the Wheat Insight System, a new platform that provides wheat growers a way to purchase and plant wheat seed to optimize yield and profit potential. The system also provides wheat seed suppliers with agronomic recommendations for growers, easier inventory management, automated processes and simplified reporting, WestBred said.

“WestBred wheat wants to enhance the way wheat seed is planted and sold,” said John Fietsam, wheat technical product lead for Monsanto. “Today, many wheat growers plant seed by the pound. But that doesn’t mean it’s accurate or what’s best when it comes to maximizing yields in today’s challenging economic environment.”

The Wheat Insight System will be available to wheat seed suppliers beginning this spring. The system calculates how many seeds are in a pound. That information then is used to create an Optimal Seeding Rate recommendation that takes into account seed size and density, geography, planting date and production practices.

WestBred said the system then is able to process a small sample of seeds in about one minute, and the Optimal Seed Rate is provided to the grower in a printout or by email at no cost to the grower. The information enables the grower to plant wheat based on the exact number of seeds per acre, which is much more precise and potentially more productive, according to WestBred.

“Larger seeds mean less seeds in a pound, which can result in underseeding,” Mr. Fietsam said. “Consequently, growers aren’t taking full advantage of the land and rely too heavily on tillering for yield potential. Seeding rates that are too low can also delay maturity, increase weed competition and, ultimately, fail to get all the potential out of the crop. Small seeds mean more seeds in a pound, which can result in overseeding. With too many plants per square foot, there is competition for nutrients, moisture and light, which can lead to increased lodging and possibly reduced yields.”

WestBred said the new system has received a positive response from wheat growers.

Todd Strader, a Colfax, Wash., wheat grower who has been using his own calculations to determine seed counts, saw the WestBred Wheat Insight System operate last fall during a beta testing period with his seed supplier.

“I liked it a lot,” Mr. Strader said. “I have had to do all the calculations myself, so I was really intrigued when I saw the seed counter and what it does. My seed supplier put the seed in and it did the count in about a minute, and you get that nice printout. It was awesome. It pretty much did exactly what I was looking for.”

Mr. Strader said he is a firm supporter of planting based on seed count rather than lbs per acre.

“My second year was when I started going by seed counts,” he said. “I’m a believer in a 950,000 seed-count number for my farm, and I’ve used that number to plant as heavy as 110 lbs per acre and as light as 84 lbs per acre, based on seed count. You have to get the plant populations right. My stands are great. There’s no going back.”