Seed Days

Planting the Seeds of Success

On February 14, Thresher hosted our annual crop planning event, Seed Days, in Fort Hall. The goal for every Thresher event is to provide useful insights on the agronomic and grain market trends of most use to our growers, and Seed Days 2017 was no exception.

Bradford Warner, vice president of marketing at parent company Agspring, and Thresher CEO Don Wille opened the event. Wille encouraged growers to work with their local grain elevator managers to ensure they choose their seed varieties wisely in the current market. “We don’t take our relationships with you lightly, and we will continue to find ways to better your business,” said Wille.

The vendor portion of the event kicked off with each of the 16 vendors at Seed Days giving a brief overview of what they had to offer. Growers were encouraged to stop by the vendor booths to discuss what products and services could help their operations.

The Heart of the Event

The meat of Seed Days 2017 consisted of our informative panel discussions. The panels featured impressive lineups of experts discussing issues such as irrigation strategies, financial game plans and the current wheat market.

Panel 1: Saving Water and Improving Yields with Technology – Moderated by Bradford Warner


  • Bill Marek, irrigation researcher – Marek’s presentation, “Prevailing Wind and the Yield Impacts,” featured 2016 research on 33 pivots (potatoes and peas) that found that prevailing wind does impact yields. His percentile difference assessment found that growers are best served and will receive the biggest return in the shortest amount of time by extending efforts to make the poorest performing parts of the field do better.
  • Jeff Peters, director of sustainability and partnerships at Agrible – Peters spoke about the benefits of Agrible’s Morning Farm Report ®, a tool that takes field-level insights and gives you the power to make the best decisions.
  • Howard Neibling, associate professor at University of Idaho – Neibling walked through the recent LESA study on irrigation for dry bean, alfalfa, grain and potato production. The LESA work was funded by three years of grant support from Bonneville Power Administration and one year from AB.

Panel 2: Best Practices and Research Update from the 200 Bushel Club – Moderated by Brett Wilken, Founder, 200 Bushel Club & Thresher Idaho Seed Manager

Panel members included members of the 200 Bushel Club: Juliet Marshall, associate professor, plant pathologist at University of Idaho; Gary Farmer, agronomist at Bingham Co-op; Mike Erickson, seed treatment specialist at McGregor Co.; Dale Clark, director of research at Northern Seed; Kirk Jacobs, Silver K Farms; Cathy Wilson, director of research collaboration at Idaho Wheat Commission; Dr. Greg Blaser, senior agronomy professor at BYU-Idaho (retired).

200 Bushel Club Findings – In 2016, the 200 Bushel Club examined five field sites. Using Lemken and John Deere drilling implements, the club came to some unusual conclusions considering the variability of the field and in-season visual differences. The club determined that the unusual results were due to:

  • Seeds being planted into a dry seed bed
  • Spring rains missed the fields
  • There were seven weeks between planting and the first irrigation
  • Water was the limiting factor and restricted the crop’s production capabilities

Panel 3: Impact of the Markets and Managing Your P&L


  • Warren Preston, deputy chief economist at USDA – Preston previewed the 2017 agricultural outlook. The USDA has projected a flat farm income and a competitive trading environment.
  • Mike O’Dea, risk management consultant, INTL FCStone – O’Dea gave growers a forward look on wheat. According to FCStone, the U.S. will continue to be the residual supplier to the world since the U.S. has the capacity to store the world’s surplus supply.
  • Jennifer Shaw, Ph.D., head of sustainability North America at Syngenta – Shaw discussed the importance of knowing your bottom line. Shaw says that farm management software is the foundation so growers can visualize the operation and easily determine their break-even points.

Panel 4: Seed Performance and the Best Varieties for 2017

  • Trenton Stanger, WestBred representative – Stanger gave comparative information about WestBred’s leading seed varieties for all the wheat classes, including hard red, hard white, soft white wheat and Alzada durum.
  • Tony Severa, Syngenta – Severa discussed Syngenta’s industry-leading hard white wheat varieties, “Bullseye” hard red spring and two new varieties for 2018.
  • Mike Erickson, McGregor Co. – Erickson presented some compelling research supporting the class-leading seed treatments offered by Thresher. For instance, Cruisermaxx .33 showed three-bushel yield gains over the next closest rival in the McGregor 2016 seed treatment trials.
  • Ryan Webber, WestBred – Webber announced the National Wheat Yield winners who grew Thresher seed. Terry Wilcox took second place nationally, growing WB 9668. Brad Parks placed second in Idaho, growing WB 9411. Both used WestBred hard red spring wheats.

Grand Prize Winners

Seed Days 2017 attendees received some wonderful prizes thanks to key sponsors like Agrible, AquaSpy, McGregor, WestBred, Syngenta, Wilbur-Ellis, Lemken and Rain for Rent.
2017 grand prize winners:

  • Brad Baker won a drone kit donated by Agrible
  • Jeff VanOrden won the AquaSpy Probe Kit donated by AquaSpy
  • Chevy Bingham won an Old Town Canoe donated by McGregor
  • Brad Reed won a Milwaukee drill set donated by WestBred

We want to thank everyone for coming to this year’s Seed Days! To download the panel presentations, click here. For more information on Thresher events, please call the Blackfoot office at (208) 785-4460, or contact your local grain elevator manager.
Click HERE to download all the 2017 Seed Days presentations.