Cereal seed supply could be tight for '22


The Saskatchewan Seed Growers’ Association (SSGA) is warning farmers that seed supply will be tight in 2022. But is the supply issue all related to the drought of 2021?

“Primarily, we’re looking at drought to be our main concern for the potential for seed supply issues,” says Mike Shewchuk, president of SSGA, however he says there are a couple different factors contributing to seed supply issues.

Grain contracts that need to be filled might tempt seed growers to take grain to the elevator instead of keeping it as seed.

“A lot of these contracts that we have out there have the potential to take a lot of seed — farm-saved or certified — and put it into a commercial market. A lot of that is due to high buyouts,” says Shewchuk.

High certified seed prices might encourage some to hold back a few bushels to get that kind of pricing, however high commodity prices also provide a double-edged sword, of sorts, for seed growers that need cash now. (Story continues below player)

“We never know what’s going to happen come springtime,” says Shewchuk. There are two stakeholders involved in all of this: the seed grower members, and the farmer customers, and a lot of SSGA members wear both hats. Shewchuk says that SSGA is encouraging their members to retain as much seed as they can, getting it tested now, and again in spring. If they’re in a contract bind, Shewchuk says to have a conversation with the elevator agent or grain buyer and ensure some product can be held back, instead of commercially sold, to ensure local supply for 2022.

Tight supply will be a widespread issue, and it’s good that harvest went well across Western Canada, so that seed quality is still maintained. Shewchuk also say that switching to thousand kernel weight seeding rate calculations could be a real help.

SSGA released their annual seed guide interactively this year, so it’s easier to search for the traits needed. It can be accessed here.

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