Network-Powered Season Length, an Alternative to Seed Relative Maturity

Jun, 10 2019

In this video we show how you can use real world season length, instead of relative maturity. The relative maturity (RM) of a variety is supposed to give farmers a relative indication of how long that variety takes to get to harvest maturity.

But the problem with relative maturity is that there is no standardized system by which seed companies assign relative maturities to their varieties. Because seed companies may have different methods for assigning maturity numbers to varieties, varieties from different seed companies may not necessarily have the same season length even if they’re labeled with the same relative maturity.

Also, many farmers worry that companies might not be fully transparent regarding maturity numbers, changing numbers slightly in order to fill gaps in their lineup or end up with a more marketable variety.

Relative maturity can make seed decisions difficult. 

The lack of transparency and consistency of current relative maturity values makes it difficult for farmers when they’re making seed decisions. At FBN, we've seen different brands sell the same variety in the same region with as much as a 5 "day" difference in corn, and half a maturity group in soybeans.

On top of that, the units of relative maturity are confusing and widely misinterpreted1, since they are not actually calendar days between planting and maturity. Furthermore, seed companies typically assign a single national relative maturity rating, even though the actual season length required for maturity can vary by region. For example: 101 day corn grown in central Nebraska does not have the same season length as 101 day corn grown in central South Dakota.

Farmers may end up not considering varieties that are actually well suited for their region if they only focus on relative maturity numbers.