The 93rd annual meeting Arkansas Seed Growers Association is scheduled for Jan. 21. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the speakers set to begin at 8:45 a.m.

“This is one of the oldest agricultural organizations in the state,” says Scooter Hodges, president of the association. “It isn’t expensive for a voting membership — only $75. And we need an increased membership. I’d like to have 100 full-time members, if possible.”

The keynote speaker will be Joel Cape, a New Orleans-based attorney, who will speak on biofuel opportunities for agriculture. In 2006, Cape spoke at the meeting on seed patent laws. (For more see U.S. seed law history: a primer.)

“We’ll also have University of Arkansas specialists in to speak. Topics may shift a bit, but Jason Kelley will speak on the latest production technology for feed grains. Scott Stiles, an economist out of ASU, will speak on the markets. Chuck Wilson will speak on how to maximize the newest technologies in rice. Jeremy Ross will speak on the best way to maximize soybean yields.”

To encourage attendance, “we’re hoping to provide topics that won’t be covered in other meetings. My target is to help everyone learn some new things. With the changes occurring in agriculture, we need all the help and advice we can get.”

After lunch, there will be Plant Board reports, a foundation seed program report, and a brief business meeting.

As of early December, Hodges says, “There are only isolated areas left to harvest soybeans and, believe it or not, a little rice. There was late-planted rice that wasn’t ready until late November.”

Yields “have been all over the board. Some tell me they’re seeing the best yields they’ve ever had with beans and rice. That goes for corn, too. The best beans are late Group 4s and 5s — mostly late 4s. Some were planted in May, others in June. Bean varieties we thought wouldn’t do well if planted in June ended up cutting 70 to 75 bushels. That was a nice surprise.”

Corn yields ran anywhere from 130 bushels to 240 bushels. “Even with all the poor weather, some folks had a good corn crop.”

As for wheat, “we don’t have much planted in the state. We’ll probably have the lowest wheat acreage in years — maybe 140,000 to 150,000 acres. It may shake out even a bit lower.”

Seed quality is a concern going into 2010, says Hodges. “People are asking about next year’s seed supply already. They want to know what will be available.

“Like yields, seed quality is all over the board. There’s seed tested coming back with germs in the 90s and AAs (accelerated aging) in the 90s. There’s seed with germs in the high 80s and AAs in the 80s. Then, there are germs in the 80s and AAs in the 30s.

“Will soybean seed be tight? It could be. Certain varieties will sell out, as always.”

For more information about the seed grower meeting, contact Hodges at (870) 674-4100 or e-mail mshodges@strattonseed.com.

e-mail: dbennett@farmpress.com