Do you remember the story of the little red hen? No one would help her plant the seeds, harvest the grain, grind the grain and bake the bread, but everyone was willing to eat the bread when it was all said and done. That’s a little bit like the story of certified seed. Everyone wants the yield increases that come from research and development into certified seed, but not a lot of people want to pay for that. Don’t get us wrong, there are some circumstances where it may not be economically feasible to make that investment, but when it is, it’s important to contribute to that long term vision.

In this interview, Peter Johnson of OMAFRA goes on a “self-described” rant about the importance of buying certified seed and the long term contribution it makes to agriculture.

If you cannot see the embedded video below click here.

12 thoughts on “Peter Johnson Rants About Why You Need to Buy Certified Seed

  1. Guys are finding the newer varieties may not perform like the older ones. Neighbors going back to Norstar, Mckenzie and Strongfield because the latest and greatest…aren’t!

    Its all fine and good for a farmer to buy certified seed if he sees value in it, but just buying it because Mr. Johnson is doing a Rick Mercer impression doesn’t seem like a good motivation.

    1. Farmers always have the option to grow a couple of acres of certified seed(s) (yes more than just one variety) for their own seed source for the following year. Many farmers already do this. They can look at their own small acres or plot(s) results and make their own informed decisions based on their own farming practices. I believe farmers are very competent people when it comes to multiplying seed. That is the business they are in – seed multiplication – so why can’t farmers grow their own seed for themselves? Peter Johnston is right, it will hurt the certified seed producers revenues. And, we might go so far as to think that we will lose research capital dollars going back into the new variety development. Let us for a moment remind ourselves that many certified seed varieties on the market originated from public funded research stations, and some certified seed varieties are brought in from other countries from which the seed company’s purchase the rights too. Either way, is there a problem? It shouldn’t really matter what the farmer does. If we want to fund variety research then we should fund variety research directly with direct research dollars attached – and not indirectly through something called certified seed sales which has the research component rolled into the price. In my mind we need to keep these two things separate or else the certified seed pricing will look like the price of gasoline – comprised of lots of taxes and very little gas for your money. Who likes that? Monsanto. That system in France – a check off at the grain elevator – where you pay for using a particular variety – sounds really good. Can we handle RR material that way too?

      Something I heard at the Woodstock farm show. What you see over in Europe today will be over here in North American in about 20 years.

  2. Not sure why we do not do like what he notes they do in France go to end use royalties. The best varieties get the most payout, and so the quest for best is rewarded. Price of certified seed then is lower by the royalty cost, with a few dollars on every tonne, the pool of money is worth fighting for.

    1. Vicki, I’m not sure cost is the issue in the case of cereal certified seed. Western Canada has some of the cheapest cereal seed you can find from foundation to certified. In Ontario, certified wheat seed can be $22 bushel plus for certified seed use and the usage is above 75%.

      Just removing the royalty is not the answer.

  3. Interesting! I am big proponent of Pedigreed Seed, not just because we are seed growers, but I believe your best investment is in seed. Over the course of a farming career, a bushel or two of yield gain adds up over time and contributes to long term success. Your cheapest line of defense is good seed technolgy and yes I am aware that not every new variety stands the test of time but by and large the benefites are in new technology. And I agree that the margin for Certified seed over commercial is way too tight, this needs to widen as we are loosing too many seed growers if it does not. I would argue though that the process of end use royalty is a cumulative margin, guarnatees breeders rewards, for new varieties and varieties that stand the test of time, and that the mindset of the western grain producer is not likely to change anytime soon.

  4. Just harvested my seven year old Srongfield vs Certified Strongfield trial.

    Common yields were 53, 55, 53, 55
    Certified yields were 54, 54, 58, 59

    Hit a former field line in the high certified yields strip that I saw only after it headed. First 2 of each were side by side. Definitely some value to it, but seed was $12.50/bushel, and I had to go get it (we have a cleaner). So I need at least 2 bushels of increase to pay for the seed price and my time.

    The problem is that pedigreed seed growers deal with the same insects, disease, and weather issues that everyone else does. Good seed is good seed, and having a blue tag doesn’t automatically mean its good seed.

  5. Why doesn’t Canada also wake up to the devastation Monsanto is doing to our seed, crops, and their plans to control everything? And to depopulate the World for even more control?
    Why are we having to tolerate the chemtrails that are controlling our weather– Why should we remain silent while they are poisoning us, I do not want GMO crops, but do want to be able to grow my own safe garden! I want our future children to be safe to know what they are eating, as well as myself!
    I am sending you a link which I think alot of farmers, as well as the public of Canada, and everywhere should sit down and listen to-
    Will you let it be heard, or are you bought out from Monsanto too?

    Greed is overwhelming the World with no regard to the little people, I thought our farmers grow for the good of mankind, not to harm us.
    Help make Canada aware please.
    Dawn Avotins
    Alberta Canada

    1. Dawn,
      Obviously you did not watch the video in this post. We are not discussing Monsanto or any other biotech company but more so the use of certified seed. There are plenty of other posts on this website that have the discussion you are trying to have on either side of the issue of biotech crops. Please do not spam my website.

  6. How will this change when Ag Canada gets out of cereal breeding? Varieties will likely be industry owned and you may not have a choice but to buy certified seed!

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