#1  
Old 07-13-2018, 08:22 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Farm Seed Signs

Driving along in America's heartland, I regularly see signs with a seed brand and lot number such as this. Although I'm not a corn-plantin' guy, I can intuit that they want to make clear what specific seed was used because it may have different resistances (glyphosate and the like) and different strains get patented and can't be propagated, etc.

However, sometimes I drive by and see signs like this one which seem to be entirely promotional. It's not next to the informational sign, just sitting on its own and perhaps the only sign for a half mile -- at least along that stretch of road. Is this a requirement from the seed provider? Does Pioneer put in the signs and the farmer is like "Eh" and doesn't care? Do they serve some other function?

Hardly one of the more pressing questions of our time but, hey, I'm curious and don't personally know any farmers.
  #2  
Old 07-13-2018, 08:46 AM
GaryM's Avatar
GaryM GaryM is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: St. Louis, MO 50mi. West
Posts: 4,869
From here:

"Plenish® high oleic soy offers functional and consumer benefits with improved performance and broader applications than other available edible oils to help meet the food industry's need for a soy-based trans fat solution".

So it would appear that the "Plenish" is the ID marker much as the number would be on the corn seed. Indicates the variety and such.

Perhaps there are fewer variety of soybeans being grown that they don't yet need numbers.
__________________
GaryM
  #3  
Old 07-13-2018, 08:53 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
Perhaps there are fewer variety of soybeans being grown that they don't yet need numbers.
No, there's definitely ID signs in soy fields. Also I've seen the more promotional signs outside of corn fields.

Last edited by Jophiel; 07-13-2018 at 08:56 AM.
  #4  
Old 07-13-2018, 09:01 AM
GaryM's Avatar
GaryM GaryM is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: St. Louis, MO 50mi. West
Posts: 4,869
Well, until proven otherwise, I'm sticking with my statement that Plenish serves the same purpose as the number on the last sign you posted. Easier to remember too.
__________________
GaryM
  #5  
Old 07-13-2018, 09:04 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
Well, until proven otherwise, I'm sticking with my statement that Plenish serves the same purpose as the number on the last sign you posted. Easier to remember too.
But then you wouldn't need this. I'll also note that sometimes the additional lower sign isn't there and it's just "Science with Service" or some other quippy promotional line.

Last edited by Jophiel; 07-13-2018 at 09:06 AM.
  #6  
Old 07-13-2018, 09:16 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 8,500
I don't know ... but may I suggest it expedites seed evaluation ... fella could just drive by, note quality of plants and drive on ... without having to stop and ask the farmer-person what seed he planted ...
  #7  
Old 07-13-2018, 09:21 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
I don't know ... but may I suggest it expedites seed evaluation ... fella could just drive by, note quality of plants and drive on ... without having to stop and ask the farmer-person what seed he planted ...
I'm sure that's part of the reason for the ABC123x signs. But I'm asking about the ones that don't actually offer much (if any) information about what seed is there.

It seems odd to me that some farmer would be so excited about Pioneer brand seed that he'd decorate his fields with promotional signs. On the other hand, if someone were to say that the agreement to use the seeds (this stuff is all patented and watched these days) includes someone putting signs up then that would make sense. But I don't know if that's the answer.
  #8  
Old 07-13-2018, 09:44 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: America's Wing
Posts: 28,750
I wonder if it could be promotional from the manufacturers to the planters. Like, they give them these signs at a nominal fee which also happen to include advertising like most swag. Then, some farmers take advantage of these cheap signs to mark what type of plants are where because it is more convenient than to make their own.
  #9  
Old 07-13-2018, 10:00 AM
GaryM's Avatar
GaryM GaryM is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: St. Louis, MO 50mi. West
Posts: 4,869
According to the document downloaded from here:

The numbers indicate varieties of Plenish soybeans.

Plenish® soybean varieties 93Y42^ (RR) P29T68PR^ P31T96PR^
P33T34PR^ P34T90PR^ P35T66PR^
__________________
GaryM
  #10  
Old 07-13-2018, 10:10 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
According to the document downloaded from here:

The numbers indicate varieties of Plenish soybeans.
I feel like I'm not making myself clear:

There's two styles of signs
(1) Signs with a code. Those signs are obvious (to me) -- the code says what exact type of seed is planted there which is useful information to the farmer for numerous reasons, especially if you have multiple fields with different seeds. Probably also useful if a rep from the seed distributor is driving around checking things out. I assume these signs come with the seeds.

(2) Signs that appear to be purely promotional. They just say the name of the distributor and maybe some ad blurb. I've been using Pioneer just because that's what I remember but you see signs from other people. These signs are sort of like getting a new car with a promotional license plate frame. If you bought a new car and the dealer just handed you a dealer frame, you probably wouldn't run home to grab a screwdriver and attach it. Which makes me wonder if Pioneer (or whoever) comes out and puts them there or if the farmer has some obligation to put them up as part of the seed deal or what.
  #11  
Old 07-13-2018, 10:19 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
I looked though their product use guide and stewardship and use agreements and didn't see anything about sign display but maybe it's handled elsewhere.

Last edited by Jophiel; 07-13-2018 at 10:22 AM.
  #12  
Old 07-13-2018, 10:28 AM
Terminus Est's Avatar
Terminus Est Terminus Est is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: The tropics
Posts: 7,169
All about field signs. They tell you who made the seed, what variety is planted, and who the seed dealer is. You might also see what fertilizer was applied or what pesticides were used. They're kind of like real estate signs.
  #13  
Old 07-13-2018, 10:33 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Thanks. That doesn't seem to address the promotional signs though. They only talk about the ones with seed lot codes (I knew about those).
  #14  
Old 07-13-2018, 10:41 AM
Folacin Folacin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: North of the River
Posts: 3,015
In at least some cases, the farmer with the promotional sign is a dealer (at least back in the 1960's/1970's when I was growing up in a farm town). He puts up the sign to let his neighbors know that what they are seeing is Dekalb corn/beans, and they can talk to him if they like what they see.

It may also be a field where Pioneer/Dekalb/whoever is actually growing the crop to produce seed to sell. I worked as a corn detasseler for Dekalb for couple of summers in high school - pull the tassels on the 'female' plants so they hybridize with the 'male' plants (generally two rows of boys and six(?) girls across the field.
  #15  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:12 AM
kunilou's Avatar
kunilou kunilou is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 23,957
Folacin has it. Seed companies will often give farmers a small amount of seed to plant a couple of rows, and compare the results with other seed types in the same field. And for the promotional signs, maybe the farmer is also a dealer, maybe he has a contract to grow seed crop for the company, or maybe the company gave him a lot of seed that year and asked him to put up a promotional sign.

Seed corn prices can run $200/thousand, with a farmer planting ~33,000 seeds per acre. With a seed price of $6,600/acre, if a seed company wants to cut me a break in exchange for a little sign on the side of the road, I'll sure consider it.

Last edited by kunilou; 07-13-2018 at 11:12 AM.
  #16  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:18 AM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by Folacin View Post
In at least some cases, the farmer with the promotional sign is a dealer (at least back in the 1960's/1970's when I was growing up in a farm town). He puts up the sign to let his neighbors know that what they are seeing is Dekalb corn/beans, and they can talk to him if they like what they see.

It may also be a field where Pioneer/Dekalb/whoever is actually growing the crop to produce seed to sell. I worked as a corn detasseler for Dekalb for couple of summers in high school - pull the tassels on the 'female' plants so they hybridize with the 'male' plants (generally two rows of boys and six(?) girls across the field.
Thanks!
  #17  
Old 07-13-2018, 12:25 PM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,900
It's been literally half a century since I did any real farming, but in my day the promotional signs were analogous to the dealer logos on automobiles. They don't cost the farmer anything and farmers have better thing to worry about than a sign some rep stuck up in their fields.

Sure, occasionally you'll see some guy with a tool stripping all the dealer ads from his car, or you'll see some farmer pulling down the DeKalb signs, but mostly it's "meh".
  #18  
Old 07-13-2018, 12:38 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: San Francisco area
Posts: 16,216
I've always assumed they were as much promotional as identification. Farmer Bob is driving down the highway and sees fields of lush tall corn, thinks of the scraggly stuff he has, and wonders what kind is it. He soon sees a Dekalb flying cob and now he knows what to buy next year.
  #19  
Old 07-13-2018, 02:33 PM
Jophiel's Avatar
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 18,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Door View Post
It's been literally half a century since I did any real farming, but in my day the promotional signs were analogous to the dealer logos on automobiles. They don't cost the farmer anything and farmers have better thing to worry about than a sign some rep stuck up in their fields.
That was my original thought but I didn't know who actually stuck the promotional (no code) signs in the ground. If a rep came by and did it, that would make sense -- combined with the other information above.
  #20  
Old 07-13-2018, 02:42 PM
Ike Witt's Avatar
Ike Witt Ike Witt is online now
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 13,929
I had a small fear that this was going to be about Sneed's.
  #21  
Old 07-13-2018, 03:09 PM
furryman's Avatar
furryman furryman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Collinwood, Collinsport
Posts: 3,631
If you go plantin'...
We won't leave you wantin'...
Plenish Seed
  #22  
Old 07-13-2018, 03:14 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 1,553
Yes the signs that appear purely promotional are simply that; likely put up with permission of the farmer as opposed to being required. I've seen 2 similar situations: one when I installed geothermal heating in my house, and another on a new tree farm off the highway on my commute.

The geothermal company finished their work and left a 2x2 sign with their promotional info on a post just outside my property line advertising what they did here (it was and still is rather uncommon and of course you'd never know it from the outside of the house). I don't remember if they asked me or not, but I just left it up for a year or so until it started flapping in the breeze and getting dirty then simply took it down. It did generate a few inquiries from passers-by and probably gave people a company name to associate with that technology, but it wasn't a major advertising deal we'd struck or anything.

The tree farm is in a semi-arid area and lush trees springing up in beside a wheat field look out of place. The sign advertises the company's drip irrigation system in place. it's big enough that there probably was some discussion between the company on owners about it's being there, but installing smaller promotional signs are often just informally requested by companies selling a product. Along the lines of "do you mind if we put up 4 signs outside your fence advertising our name?" The company would do its own installation; farmers seldom do tedious little tasks like that for other people. And probably nothing would happen if people took them down or started using them as target practice.
  #23  
Old 07-13-2018, 05:21 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,804
I have seen a couple of farms with demonstration patches. That is, a well-groomed area showing off a few rows each of three or four of a company's varieties, open for passersby to stop and look at individual plants. I'm not a farmer, but Indiana's in the corn belt.
__________________
When I make a To-Do list, the first item is "Make a list." That way, I can cross one item off right away.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:30 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017