Russell Oberg, our Regional Commercial Manager (RCM) for the Northern Plains, is in the middle of his sales season for hard red spring wheat seed during a global pandemic. But if you’ve met Russell, you know he always has a positive spin on things. Read on to learn about Russell’s thoughts and experiences during this unprecedented time.
I must start this update by saying the old line about ag – every year is different. But WOW, this year tops the chart. It will be interesting to see what becomes normal after this. Coronavirus has sure changed this year’s sales process. I have never been in my office this much and I found out I do not like it. That is one change that I hope does not become the normal. However, since I have been in sales and doing this a few years, I try to make the best of it by keeping in contact with dealers and wheat growers through phone calls and emails.
Phone calls work fine for any of the customers I already know – I understand their business and their needs and I can navigate a conversation with them over the phone just fine. What I miss is building the relationship with new dealers and their growers. The best way to get to know an operation, that I have found, is to see it in person. I sure look forward to being able to build those relationships again soon.
The thing to remember is there will still be wheat planted and the grower will still want to plant quality seed with the best chance to make a profit. I believe that is what LCS brings to the market.
What could prevent growers from planting the best quality wheat seed is the fact people are being limited from going to meetings or even talking at the coffee shop to get the scoop on the latest varieties. With Limagrain Cereal Seeds being a newer company in the region, there are many growers who are still learning about LCS. Due to social distancing limiting the typical farmer interaction and education, growers might continue to use the same varieties they are used to instead of improving with new seed.
There are also two other influences that are playing into the wheat seed market this year.
1 – The low wheat prices are causing everyone to watch their expenses and cut costs where possible. Because of this, we must tell our story – It is return on cost that is important. Investing in good genetics could yield a greater return in the end.
2 – The late spring is starting to influence crop choices and prevent planting programs. Growers cannot start planning wheat until the snow and rain ease up.
We must also talk about the upside potential of a good wheat crop and the prices going much higher. For the bright side of spring 2020, there is still a large opportunity to sell more wheat seed. There is a lot of acres that are undecided and could be planted to wheat. At Limagrain, we have three genetically unique products that have very different market strengths. This makes us the go-to company to answer different grower problems.
Start with our newest variety, LCS Cannon. This balanced variety first caught our attention because of its great straw strength. However, after a late start to planting last year (and this year is looking to be similar) LCS Cannon really began to stand out because of its early maturity. LCS Cannon is one of the earliest wheat varieties for maturity – meaning you can get out in the field and be done with harvest earlier.
Or we can offer LCS Rebel. Known for very good yield and great end-use quality. LCS Rebel is a Wheat Quality check variety because of its superior end-use quality. LCS Rebel is also a balanced variety, that not only yields but offers consistent protein.
Then for someone that wants bushels, we have LCS Trigger. With National Wheat Yield Contest winning yield in 2018 and 2019, LCS Trigger is gaining a reputation for performance. In addition to yield, LCS Trigger also has a good disease package.
I will close by saying I do not know how the year will end, but it is one to remember. I wish everyone a healthy, happy spring and summer.
Region Commercial Manager, Limagrain Cereal Seeds
Russell’s territory covers Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. If you are looking for spring wheat, please visit our Find A Seed Dealer page.