The seed is in the warehouse and awaiting delivery

With the snow melting and spring nearly here, it’s the time of year when Ben Ludeman starts delivering seed to his customers.
Ludeman and his wife Stacey operate an LG Seed dealership, grow corn and soybeans, and manage two swine facilities near Tracy.
Ludeman said he sells most of his seed between harvest and Jan. 1, which is when customers can make sure they get the products they want and receive the best discounts. Seed is then shipped from December into planting season and he starts delivering it to customers at the end of March and first part of April.
Ludeman said farmers he’s talked to seem eager to start planting after a few years, during which the planting windows have been “short and erratic.”
“I’ve noticed that farmers will probably have less patience and take advantage of every window of opportunity to get a crop in,” Ludeman said. “Hopefully, we have the patience to wait until conditions are right.”
Ludeman said the recent weather has made farmers optimistic that there will be a normal planting window this year, but that the weather during the next few weeks will determine if that’s the case.
“Ideally, we like to start planting around April 20, but that hasn’t happened the last few years,” he said.
Last year, farmers in the area started planting in mid-May, Ludeman said, and finished up around mid-June. Some farmers, including him, weren’t able to plant all their acres. He said just over 25 percent of the corn seed and about 10 percent of the soybean seed he sold last year was returned because the farmers couldn’t plant it.
“I’ve been selling seed for 24 years and I’ve never seen anything close to it,” Ludeman said. “And customers who I work with who have been farming for 50 years have never seen a planting season quite like that.”
At their own farm, the Ludemans prevent planted about 15 percent of their acres, but Ludeman said the acres they did plant had “surprisingly good yields.”
That wasn’t the case for everyone, however, even on the acres they did plant. Ludeman said last year’s yields varied widely by location due to wind storms that came through the area and caused green snap as well as poorly drained soils that suffered significant yield loss.

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