Preparing Soybean Seed for Planting

Gone are the days when a hole was dug in the ground, a seed was thrown in and a prayer was said in hopes of a productive yield.
The prayers may still be said, but with today’s agriculture, a lot more effort is put into enabling greater and more consistent yields for growers. Seed today, in this case soybean seed, goes through an extensive process of cleaning –– conditioning is the technical term –– and for some producers, treating before it returns to the ground to produce another season’s crop.
CHS Inc., a Fortune 100 farm supply company with several locations in southwest Minnesota including Marshall, Ruthton, Tracy and Pipestone, has been cleaning and treating seed for over 10 years. The company conditions approximately 425,000 bushels of seed a year, with the majority of its growers residing in Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
The seed arrives at the Marshall facility either directly from farmers who have contracted fields with CHS, or picked up by the plant in trucks equipped with a vacuum that sucks seed from storage bins into trucks for transport. Once the seed has arrived, the conditioning process begins.
“Seed conditioning involves taking raw bushels from the fields and you remove all the sticks, chaff, all the unwanted stuff to make a clean seed that you can plant again,” said Mike Nybo, the Lead Seed Cleaner in Marshall. “If you leave all that stuff in it can plug the planter up and of course it doesn’t add to the quality and quantity of the seed.”

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