Rewards and risks of buying seed online

Minnesota farmer Lance Petersen estimates he saved between 10% and 15% on his seed corn for 2019 by buying all of it online. Like many farmers, Petersen was unable to plant all his corn acres and now has carryover for next season. But Petersen is undaunted and says the savings from buying online outweigh the risks.
1. Be professional but prepared to negotiate. “Instead of demanding a certain price, I’ve been willing to give up services and frills, including in-season delivery, to arrive at a better price point,” Petersen says. “Services we’ve waived include no returns, switching products, no replant, off-season direct ship or ProBox quantities.”
To increase your negotiating power, consider approaching like-minded neighbors and friends who also want to buy seed online at the best price.
“A retailer is going to be more interested in working with you when you say you represent 5,000 acres rather than 500,” Petersen explains.
2. Know about the products you want to buy. Petersen asks his seeds rep for as much information on products as he will provide. “We want the variety ID number, the germination score and year it was produced,” he says. “If we go shopping in a store, we get to look at the date for how long milk is good for, so I think the information we’re asking for is fair.”
3. While you can go online any time to buy seed, he recommends contacting your dealer first. “Let him know you want to buy a high-quality seed product online with no expectation of any service from him, and in return, you want the lowest price,” he says.
“For the seed salesman who gets the way I want to do business, they realize long term if they can make it work, I’m a guaranteed low-margin and low-
service customer.”
4. Have a plan in place if you experience a year like 2019. “I’m thinking about building a room inside my machinery shed that can be temperature controlled, so I can store the carryover seed in a stable environment,” Petersen says. He also plans to germ test the seed prior to planting and will adjust his corn population rates accordingly. He has planted carryover seed in previous years without stand establishment issues so far.

SourceAg Professional