As an international exporter of forage seeds, preparation is done throughout the year to develop and improve products that can be marketed around the world, says Matthew Malin of Desert Sun Marketing Company. Malin explains, from the developmental stages of a new variety through the execution of growing and selling, it's a lot like getting to the “Big Game.”
"Preparation is just like a playbook for the big game," he says. "You may not have everything ready for execution, but you are developing the concept. We spend years developing our playbook, discussing with new and existing customers what their needs are, what the market is missing and how to take a non-existent product and make it a reality."
Malin says the developmental stage is the early stages during the breeding process.
"At this point, we are working directly with the breeder and to create a product that will stand above the rest," he says. "It could be higher yield potential, better feed quality, drought, disease, or insect tolerance depending on market demands."
Once the variety makes the cut, he says the planting season begins, of which many unknowns must be dealt with. Toward the end of the season, only the strongest varieties will harvest and make it to market.
"I consider this our Super Bowl since there is so much build up to this," Malin says, "and if you are not prepared, you will not succeed.
"There are many complexities and there will always be some surprises but you have to be prepared, flexible and able to conquer any challenges that arise from delays to port strikes and shortage of crop."
Malin says it's only when the last shipment gets out the door and arrives to the customer can they take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of the season along with what improvements will be made for next season. However, he adds, there is very little time to rest though as the new season is about to begin.
A Super Bowl win for New West Genetics is successful seed production, shares Wendy Mosher, New West Genetics president and CEO.
She explains that they've been doing a lot of heavy lifting and preparing for the past six years. This work has focused on connecting the whole supply chain and filling in if a partner doesn't exist, which still happens in some regions.
"A win for us is the alignment of sales with grower contracts, enough of the right genetics for the right location, the regulatory applications are filed on-time, the production inputs are at appropriate levels, the combine works, the drying is quick and the seed conditioner is a quality one and accepts hemp," she says. "When all those pieces come together, then it's a TOUCHDOWN!"
But she emphasizes, that's just one part of winning the big game.
"Then we need a whole other system for our breeding plots," Mosher says.
"My Super Bowl is the client call to present varieties for licensing," shares Bryan Gerard, president of JoMar Seeds and Gerard Seed Solutions. "The variety presentation is a culmination of very detailed preparation. A 'study' of the new data is not a road to success."
Gerard says the process is detailed and lengthy. For him, it includes:
- Studying the initial data provided by the breeder.
- Walking yield trials 3-5 times, taking extensive notes. "This is the key activity contributor to our success and the most time consuming," he adds.
- Reviewing the new data, adding to the database and combining numbers with notes to determine adaptability and a success profile for the variety.
- Creating a strategic plan for the variety and each customer.
"When I walk into the client call, I don't have to 'read' a fact sheet to the customer," Gerard shares. "All the preparation allows for a free flowing conversation that leads to a more successful interaction and places the customer in a better position to be successful with their lineup."
"At BASF, our season kicks off with our customer and research trials — planting with the right seed treatment package protects our seeds like a helmet protects its players. When the seed emerges, it's the play-offs. This is the time to see which teams (or treatments) are looking strong. Harvest is our Super Bowl! The excitement and hard work throughout the year culminate with final yield results," says Justin Clark, BASF technical field manager - seed treatments.
"Our team work and roster of seed treatments protect each seed and maximize potential. Yearly trials are an important part of our R&D innovation and commitment to providing growers with new plays and tools each season."
"Our Super Bowl is easy — it's winning with customers long term," says Bruce Howison, Wyffels Hybrids vice president of sales and marketing. "Our mission is to relentless work together to support growers in the pursuit of a more productive and profitable corn crop. By doing this we have achieved industry leading customer retention and high share of farms."
Wyffels steps to prepare include:
- A continuous relationship, meaning it never stops. The seed order is just a step in the journey.
- Discovery, meaning you are always learning more about your customer, helping them to succeed.
- Pre call planning. What's the game plan and what will success look like?
"We truly focus on customer growth," Howison says. "When we get it, the units come along for the ride."