“The 50-pound bag size was established long ago by default when the industry decided that the 100-pound bags it had been using for commodity cottonseed were too heavy,” said Don Threet, vice president of Stoneville’s U.S. Business Operations, which are headquartered in Memphis.

“But today, better quality planting seed and planting equipment advancements have enabled growers to reduce the amount of seed that they plant per acre considerably, resulting in a very precise planting density.

“Additionally, seeds per foot of row have replaced pounds per acre because of significant quality advances in today's cotton planting seeds, and the value of technology in each bag,” he said. “Ten years ago, before transgenic cotton, growers would talk about planting 15 to 20 pounds per acre. Today, they plant seeds per foot of row or plant population per acre.

“The end user for our product has already made the step that he is no longer planting pounds, he’s planting seeds. So we no longer need to sell him pounds; we need to sell him seeds.”

Knowing seed counts enables both retailers and growers to improve inventory management by ordering the exact number of bags they need, says a Stoneville news release. “This helps minimize tied up cash flow resulting from excessive inventory. Fewer extra bags in inventory reduces the risk of damage and loss during loading and storage,” he said.

“We're really excited about our seed-count packaging innovation,” says Threet. “It reflects the cotton grower’s sophistication and the precise science of his cotton planting operation.

“The corn industry long-ago implemented seed count packaging, and the cotton industry needs it. It’s more fair to growers, they understand the value, and they'll get what they pay for.”

Moving to a standardized seed count bag simplifies pricing and inventory issues on varieties that contain transgenic technologies, according to David Rhylander, Monsanto’s director of marketing. “Today, there are 11 different prices on Roundup Ready varieties because of seed size and 10 different prices on Bollgard/Roundup varieties due to seed size.

“The standardized seed count bag would give one price for Roundup Ready varieties and one price for Bollgard/Roundup Ready varieties.

“Additionally, it addresses future issues in pricing cotton technology. As more traits are put in the cottonseed, such as Bollgard II or Roundup Ready Flex, the price of a single cottonseed will increase. Therefore, as seeds become more expensive, growers will need to be able to manage this input cost more effectively. Stoneville's new 230K standard seed count bag will allow them to do this.”

e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com