Another big Missouri Southern Seeds topic: proprietary seeds versus common seeds. What are they, what’s the difference, and what’s going to get you the best result? Let’s find out.
In the seed industry, “proprietary” often indicates germplasm or breeding methods solely used internally within a company for breeding or research and are considered trade secrets. The term “proprietary” also refers to the company or organization who owns the seed or technology.
Proprietary seeds are under many different seed categories, but most often seen in forage seeds, lawn seeds, and cover crop seeds which are frequently sold with proprietary coatings and seed treatments created to improve germination, growth, survival, or seed flow through planting equipment. Additionally, some proprietary seeds are sold in blends to prevent theft of that germplasm.
The thought process behind purchasing proprietary products? Providing yourself with quality forage, turf, and cover crops seeds to ensure your operation is profitable and successful.
Besides proprietary seed, there is also “common seed” produced by an individual grower or company. In crops, such as alfalfa, clovers and forage grasses, growers can purchase older varieties that become Variety Not Stated (VNS).
With all common seed, grass seed companies can often sell these products as micro-brands marketed through retailers and companies possessing no seed production, conditioning, or bagging capability.
However, reputable seed suppliers take further measures to guarantee seeds purchased meet minimum winter hardiness, dormancy and disease resistance criteria for the specific region in which the seed will be sold. Some seed companies have built name recognition around premium products, with a consistent brand name and stated trait minimums, such as a guaranteed minimum disease resistance or dormancy.
Consider purchasing all your seed from a trusted company. Carefully study the economic impact of increased variability and reduced performance of blends in fields seeded down only every few years. Pay attention to seed tag information, setting expectations for crop purity, the amount of pure seed and total germination that impacts the seeding rate. Your time and money is too valuable for you to overpay for seed that doesn’t offer traits needed for your individual fields and specific growing environments. And realize just because proprietary seed may be more expensive, your return on investment may come at a quicker pace by paying more upfront.
Here at Missouri Southern Seed, we strive to provide some of the best products available. Our vendors are consistently evaluating more than 4000 unique lines of various species annually in order to provide us with the most up-to-date genetics.