Do You Pay More for Corn Seed Than Your Neighbors?

FBN Analytics Seed Selection

Our latest special report looks at regional seed pricing, also known as “zone pricing,” and what it means for U.S. corn farmers. In it, we explore the confusing and often complex variability in corn seed prices caused by "zone pricing,'" and what the practice ultimately costs farmers.


What is "zone pricing?"

Regional seed pricing, also known as “zone pricing,” complicates the degree of variability in corn seed prices. Because of zone pricing, farmers pay different prices for the exact same seed depending on where they live or farm—their agronomic zone.

Relabelers, distributors and retailers all have an opportunity to impact the list price before seed gets to the farm, so a single variety can be listed at different prices even within the same zone. 

The map below shows how the median price of VT Double PRO® corn varies by county. 

There is a great deal of variation in what the typical farmer pays to have that trait. You can see just how much variation exists in what farmers pay for the same trait, even within a zone.

You can see in this map that farmers are often paying very different prices for seed than even their neighbors a few counties over.

FBN corn zone pricing VT Double Pro Median List Price by County

Typical list prices in western Illinois are $75 per bag more than southeastern Illinois, $40 per bag higher in northeastern Iowa compared to southern Iowa, and $55 per bag higher in southern Nebraska than in western Nebraska. These variations cannot be explained entirely by our estimated Bayer-Monsanto® agronomic zones.

Download the zone pricing in corn seed report


For example, Michigan and North Dakota are actually both in the same zone, but Michigan farmers are paying as much as $80 per bag more than North Dakota farmers for VT Double PRO® seed.

The same discrepancies can be seen in the prices of other popular trait packages. We provide their maps in our Zone Pricing in Corn Seed Report.

Download the report to see where farmers are paying very different prices for seed than their neighbors a few counties over.

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