People listening to speaker at Seed Days

2018 Seed Days Recap

On February 1, Thresher hosted its annual planting preparation event, Seed Days, at the Shilo Inn in Idaho Falls. The goal of every Thresher event is to create an environment where growers can collaborate with the relevant resources, news, and industry professionals to make them more successful, and this event was no exception.

Bradford Warner, vice president of marketing for Agspring, began the day’s agenda with a welcome and introductions for the extensive presence of strategic partners, allies and sponsors. With more than 26 different vendors being represented, there were plenty of relevant resources for growers to connect with throughout the event.

Thresher Director of Merchandising Ken Morgan followed up the introductory session with an update on Thresher’s merchandising input heading into planting season. Specifically, he updated producers on the success of Thresher’s unique contract options that allow producers to mitigate risk while staying in the market; he recommended the continued use of IGRs on stored grain rather than pesticides such as malathion; and he informed producers on the upcoming FSMA regulations, which will have a huge impact on the industry later this year. Morgan introduced Thresher’s new premium schedule, which will take effect on July 1, 2018.

Producers using either Sygenta’s AgriEdge Land.db or Stotz Equipment’s LEAF platform for Field to Market-based field-printing qualify for this new premium.

The Heart of the Event

The main content of Seed Days 2018 was a series of informative panel discussions and keynote speakers. The panels and speakers featured impressive lineups of experts discussing issues such as new federal and state policy, financial game plans and the current wheat market.

Panel 1 – 2018 Seed Varieties, Treatments and Options Update – Moderated by Brett Wilken


  • Trenton Sanger, WestBred – Sanger gave comparative information about WestBred’s leading seed varieties for all the wheat classes, including hard red, hard white and soft white wheat.
  • Tony Severa, Syngenta – Severa not only discussed information about the different hard red and hard white seed variety offerings for 2018, but he also discussed the commitment Syngenta has to protecting the genetic potential of seeds with the most innovative seed treatment products on the market through the Seed Care Institute.
  • Kelly Olson, Idaho Barley Commission – With Thresher leading off the panel discussion talking about the emergence of a market for food barley, a platform was provided for Olson to speak on the productivity, growth, demand and agronomics of food barley in Idaho.

Panel 2 – Best Practices and Research Update from the 200 Bushel Club – Moderated by Brett Wilken  

The panel consisted of members from the 200 Bushel Club: Juliet Marshall, associate professor, plant pathologist at University of Idaho; Mike Erickson, seed treatment specialist at McGregor Co.; Dale Clark, director of research at Northern Seed; and Cathy Wilson, director of research collaboration at Idaho Wheat Commission. The panelists presented findings from 2017 of four winter trials with two out of the four trials having a fall fertilizer application. They set out to discover whether the fall-planted wheat was getting adequate nutrients at planting, whether banding or top-dressing fertilizer at planting increased yields, and whether it would be economically sustainable. Using Lemken drilling implements, the club came to some conclusions despite the variability of field testing. The club determined:

  • Fall-applied fertilizer, broadcasted or banded, significantly increased yields by 10+%
  • There is a nominal net gain using fertilizer with current grain prices in place
  • Fertilizer blend: 60N-50P-40K-12S-1Z
  • Sulfur is a key ingredient to helping yield and quality

Keynote Speaker – 2018 Global and U.S. Wheat Outlook – Dr. William Tierney, Chief Economist at AgResource Company

Dr. Bill Tierney brought enthusiasm and energy to his global and domestic wheat market update presentation. With an engaging speaking style, Tierney provided growers with an outlook into nationwide wheat yield projections, the global trading environment and wheat variety price projections. His slides are available on

Keynote Speaker – State and Federal Policy Update – Dwight Little Sr., President of the Idaho Grain Producers Association

Dwight Little Sr. provided growers with an insight into recent Idaho trespass laws, the stationary status of the Farm Bill, the importance of the upcoming NAFTA negotiation for agriculture, discussions on increased funding for infrastructure in rural America, potential consequences of the new tax bill, and the IGPA mentorship program.     

Panel 3 – Farm Safety

Three presenters covered key safety topics relevant to producers:

  • John Franson, Wilbur-Ellis – Franson discussed the benefits of reading pesticide labels and the role they have in creating a safe work environment. Franson’s presentation contributed to the accreditation needed for growers to obtain a point on their chemical license.
  • Bob Johnston, Central Life Sciences/Diacon – Johnston presented on the different insect growth regulators and insecticides, such as Diacon, that Central Life Sciences had to offer. He also provided insight into how to apply each product, how much of each product to use, and the benefits of each product dependent upon the type of grain.
  • Brandon Schmit, Norco – Schmit gave a hands-on presentation on how to improve the use of farm safety equipment. This presentation also raised awareness on the importance of knowing how to properly use the tools famers have available in order to ensure safety.

Panel 4 – Increasing the Profitability for Your Farming Operation 

Warner moderated a panel of three experts around farm management technology and banking.

Stacey Shaw of Syngenta discussed a resource for growers who are seeking help in maximizing and sustaining their return on their investment. Shaw presented on key features of the AgriEdge Excelsior®  software, which contains a whole-farm management program that combines secure data management,  innovative product choices, and trusted on-farm service to better tie expense to income.

Ryan Rosztocy of Stotz Equipment/LEAF presented details on how farmers can take control of their profitability through fleet management technology and intelligence. Discussing the product offering of LEAF, an agricultural software package that measures every facet of a farming operation, Rosztocy emphasized how this technology can help increase profitability per unit on every farming operation.

Eric Gray of Northwest Farm Credit Services highlighted how growers can benchmark and increase their operation’s profitability working with their lender. The tactics Gray highlighted came from his own experience seeing what has made successful producers remain profitable. These included being able to understand financial statements to in order to make better decisions, being able to plan for the year ahead based on reviewing prior experience, being able to maximize the value of your production which doesn’t always mean the highest yield, and being able to produce what the customer wants.

Grand Prize Winners

Seed Days 2018 attendees received some wonderful prizes thanks to key sponsors like Syngenta, Lemken/Pioneer, Stotz Equipment, and WestBred.

We thank everyone for coming to this year’s Seed Days event. To download the panel presentations, go to the Thresher Seed Days tab on 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 2018 Seed Days presentations.