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5 Things to Know Before Buying Blue River Seed

Blue River Organic Seed has an incredible team that works hard each and every day across the country to provide you with the best organic seed on the market. When it comes to organic farming we know that good management can be more complicated to navigate and achieve than the average farmer may realize. Don't get lost in the fog of confusion. Know the facts about our seed company before you buy!

When choosing seed, it’s important to not only research the hybrid or variety that you’re considering, but also the seed company itself. What value does the company place on seed performance and quality? Does the company perform its own research and quality testing on the varieties and hybrids they sell? How in-depth are their field trials and research efforts? Do they invest in university trials and objective third-party testing as well? More importantly, do they make that research available to you, the farmer? What is their customer service like? Do they have certified crop advisors and agronomists on staff to help with agronomic questions?

While we can’t answer these questions for other seed companies, we can definitely give you an in-depth look at our own motives, mission, and quality-assurance practices. We feel strongly that when you get to know Blue River’s devotion to high-quality seed, robust testing and varietal improvement, and top-notch customer service, you’ll realize why settling for less from your seed company just isn’t worth it.

1. Blue River was founded on the importance of high-quality, certified organic seed.

In 2005, Blue River Organic Seed was established under a common vision: We wanted to provide organic corn grain and silage farmers an opportunity to stay true to their organic farming practices and principles without sacrificing yield and performance due to inferior or un-adapted genetics. With this mission in mind, Blue River set out to create and select high quality, organic and/or non-GMO seed varieties with exceptional genetics specifically bred for organic farming environments across the nation.

Since that time, Blue River has expanded its organic and non-GMO product line to include several other important crops: soybean, sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass, alfalfa, red clover, and sunflower. Most significantly, Blue River has further developed the PuraMaize system into a line-up of corn varieties that are traditionally bred with the ability to favor their own pollen over GMO pollen, virtually eliminating the concern of GMO contamination in the grain at harvest. The success of the PuraMaize system is a harbinger of even better things to come, so stay tuned as Blue River takes organic seed to the next level of purity!

2. Blue River does its own research and field testing to provide you with the best organic seed. We also invest in university yield trials and objective third-party research.

Here at Blue River, we feel that science should be on our side when developing high-quality organic seed. A part of that scientific process is extensive field testing and objective analysis of the results. Our researchers are committed to developing traditionally bred, non-GMO hybrids that are selected specifically for their ability to thrive in organic management systems. Not only does Blue River grow its products across multiple testing environments around the United States, we also invest in objective university and third-party yield trials to ensure that our customers are receiving truthful and transparent information about our seed.

3. Our products are screened based on field performance with multiple years of testing, over a wide array of soil types, weather environments, and fertility regimes.

When we say we perform quality research – we perform in-depth field trials across all kinds of soil types, fertility programs, and management styles – not to mention across several lines of latitude! We take the performance of our varieties very seriously and this extends to our extensive field testing before the seed ever makes it to your farm!

4. You can view our plot trials and data here for our different crops.

We want our customers to feel confident in their selection of Blue River seed. This is most easily achieved through transparency in the performance data of our products. We let the numbers speak for themselves – you won’t find higher quality for a better value!

5. We provide large company benefits with a small company feel. We always want to hear how your season is going and we love to see update pictures of those beautiful organic fields.

When you become a Blue River customer, you’re joining a team that is sometimes more like a family. We are here every step of the way to help you select and succeed with one (or several) of our products. Our sales team is experienced and knowledgeable about organic management systems and we have both agronomists and Certified Crop Advisors on staff, ready and happy to answer your questions about both our products as well as agronomic topics in general. Most importantly, we love to hear from our customers – whether it’s just a season update or if you want to share pictures of your harvest. Your feedback helps us improve our products and service in the best way possible!

Dealers, Industry Spotlight, Products

PuraMaize: Protecting Your Organic Corn At Harvest…One Field At A Time

What is PuraMaize? If you haven’t had the chance to try out this genetic marvel, then continue reading to learn how it can optimize your organic grain at harvest.

PuraMaize isn’t just another variety of organic seed corn. It virtually eliminates the need to delay planting in order to avoid GMO contamination from your non-organic neighbors. This means you can take advantage of a longer growing season and you’ll have the ability to stagger your harvest with an even wider range of varietal maturities.

When you plant regular organic seed corn, the threat of GMO contamination in the resulting grain at harvest is still a significant concern. You may have carefully selected an organic corn variety with great genetics, but if pollen from a nearby GMO cornfield makes its way into your organic corn during pollination, it won’t matter how great that variety is – you’ll still wind up with GMO contamination in your harvested grain. Not so with PuraMaize!

By using traditional plant breeding methods, our plant breeders have given you access to organic seed corn that not only has strong genetics, it is almost completely resistant to foreign pollen. This means you no longer have to delay planting behind your non-organic neighbors' field. PuraMaize allows you to plant the same day right next to them, and be worry free at harvest that the grain you’re harvesting is free of GMO contamination.

PuraMaize is ideal for all organic farmers, but particularly those who are supplying organic grain, meat, or dairy products to the Non-GMO markets. These farmers need to be confident that there will be no contamination from neighboring GMO varieties when they harvest – and Blue River has stepped up to the plate to bring you the next level of purity in organic seed corn!

To learn more about PuraMaize or to see if it would be beneficial to your operation, contact your Blue River representative, or call us at 1-800-370-7979.​

Products, PuraMaize

The Seed That is Proudly Grown in the USA

In the last year, Blue River Organic Seed bags have been added with a designation that proudly distinguishes the emphasis Blue River places on true, United States grown products. The label, which reads "USA Grown", is to signify all Blue River seed varieties are proudly grown in the soils of the United States. This is especially important given the concern of imports affecting United States organic markets over the past year. Blue River wants our customers to feel confident that they are receiving the highest standard of USA Grown organic seed. So strongly confident, in fact, that we put our name and a USA Grown label right on each seed bag.

As we celebrate Independence Day around the country, it is a good time to reflect and be thankful for those men and women, along with their families, who collectively sacrificed so much to gain and protect our freedoms. In this day of big Ag mergers and acquisitions, Blue River is thankful that we still live in a country where a hand-full of people, with like minds, can start a small seed company dedicated to providing certified organic seed to its customers nationwide, and that those customers have the right to decide how they farm and protect the soil while providing for their families. Even though the weather and national news can seem to get us down, as Americans, we still have a lot to be thankful for as we commit energy and focus to our organic farms.

With new organic seed choices continuously entering the marketplace, ensure you are making your seed investment decisions with those that care first about the organic farmer and organic industry.

Happy Independence Day!

Products

​Dedicated Research Means Quality Organic Corn Seed in Each Blue River Bag

Blue River Organic Seed is able to proudly state that even their newest-to-the-market seed products come with proven performance due to the tremendous backing of a diligent seed development program, and one that spans both years and states to deliver seed with high standards.

To ensure the best of the best when it comes to the organic seed planted in your field, Blue River utilizes years of in-field research to develop the top performing seed across various geographic and field conditions. The in-field research also allows Blue River to accurately catalog the characteristics associated with each variety of seed for all crops.

The screening program for new corn hybrids at Blue River includes nearly 50,000 plots every year across the Midwest. Each plot is equal to two rows, at 17.5 feet long. Often, the top performing corn varieties that are moved on to further in-field development include just the top five percent. Further selective breeding will occur in consecutive growing seasons to narrow the most optimal varieties and which are one step closer to their availability to farmers.

Those seed varieties reaching the end-of-the-pipeline research are then placed in 10,000 plots, across 30 locations, in at least 12 states to determine their final characterization data. This is where the corn varieties in the Blue River Product Guide and individual tech sheets are determined and where specific performance attributes of each variety are derived from.

PuraMaize hybrid corn varieties from Blue River are unmatched in the organic seed industry for seed purity contamination of GMOs, and farmers can count on it year after year. What is even more, these varieties are traditionally bred to block GMO trait contamination through blow-in pollen from neighboring non-organic farmers fields. The research and development needed for PuraMaize requires its own dedicated in-field research as well. PuraMaize corn varieties will be screened across 8,000 to 10,000 final characterization research plots, and even further screening where necessary, to ensure they remain consistent in their performance of yield, grain quality and grain purity.

While you will most likely never stumble across the location of Blue River's research plots, what you may see are what we refer to as strip plots, which include any number of seed varieties commonly planted in 6 to 10 row strips. These test plots are farmer-hosted, often include row markers or field signs which display the varieties planted in the plot, and most of which are on organic ground. While this data is not used to make seed development decisions, they are still valuable to compare performance on localized field conditions and are commonly used for yield data.

A total of 56 farmer-hosted Blue River strip plots are planted each year, and you'll find them in various regions across the United States. If you are interested in knowing more about these plots or viewing them for yourself, the Regional Sales Manager listed with each region would be happy to answer your questions.

Upper Midwest- 9 plots (Scott Ausborn- scotta@blueriverorgseed.com)

East- 7 plots (Luke Howard- luke@blueriverorgseed.com)

West- 2 plots (Maury Johnson- maury@blueriverorgseed.com)

Central/West Central Midwest- 21 plots (Joe Fries- joe@blueriverorgseed.com)

Northeast Iowa- 6 plots (David Burns – 319.240.6351)

Michigan/Eastern Corn Belt- 13 plots- (Eric Ford - eric@blueriverorgseed.com)

When you Go Blue, each and every bag of Blue River Organic Seed is confidently filled with years of dedicated testing for the highest quality and performance, so you can farm better.

Products

Mason Family Farms

 
“We’ve had organic inspectors question our yield estimates. But those yields are what we’ve come to expect.” - Christine Mason, Mason Family Farms

It’s a confident statement, but one that Mason Family Farms, of Whitewater, Wisconsin, stands by saying. It is also a strong indication of the success they have had with Blue River Organic Seed for over ten years.

The Mason’s, who are now in their fourth generation of farming, have been certified organic for 15 years. However, many of their field practices have been geared towards organic long before certification. Making up the farming operation is Steve and Christine Mason, and Steve’s parents, John and Sally Mason. As John, the third generation of Mason farmers refers to their organic farm, “I was farming this harder way for years and now we’re back to it, but better than before.”

The word harder is repeated throughout a recent conversation with the Mason family; mostly used to describe the differences in farming organically. But it’s important to know for the Masons, that the word harder also means rewarding.

“It’s more work, and it’s not easy. You have to be committed to the time it takes to farm organically and still be successful,” Steve Mason shared. For the Masons, that commitment of time has been strongly focused on matching quality products and sound agronomics.
Both Steve and Christine have worked in other areas of the agriculture industry and among many types of farming. That is much of the reason they can accurately make these comparisons. Steve, having previously raised dairy on the family farm and worked for a Wisconsin farm cooperative, and Christine, who has extensive agronomy experience from multiple angles of the industry as well, are very open in sharing what they have learned and experienced in order to be successful organic farmers.

The expected high yields that Christine mentions are accredited to their focus on creating a soil and field environment that helps the right seed product grow. This includes quite a bit of soil science. On the Mason’s fields, they have always incorporated multiple crop rotations, including incorporating hay into those rotations, and speak highly of the positive effects it has on the soil environment. They also use cover crops on fields where able. Over time, creating the best possible field environment is what helps a quality seed reach its full potential.

Creating that ideal field environment is also part of Steve and Christine’s role at Standard Process, a whole food nutritional supplement company, based in Palmyra, Wisconsin. Christine serves as the farm operations manager of the company’s organic farm near Whitewater, and Steve is also the farm supervisor. At both their family farm and the Standard Process farm, they take careful consideration into the health of their field and soil conditions to reach quality yields and products.

When you mix these strong agronomics together with a product like Blue River Organic Seed, the results are outstanding. Last year, one of the soybean fields averaged 70 bushels per acre. “We’ve been extremely happy with our Blue River seed,” says Christine. “Even in years of short rains, our Blue River seed has remained great due to its drought tolerance,” Steve adds. The yields they have been able to achieve continue to not only meet, but exceed, those that they had experienced previously when farming conventionally. The Blue River soybean field in the photo above has been farmed organically for several years, and it is one that the Mason’s are managing this year for Standard Process.

Growing organically takes a focus, some work and great support, including such from your seed company. Blue River is proud to be a part of the Mason’s successful family farming traditions. We want to be a part of yours as well by continuing to fulfill on our promise of the high-quality organic standards and performance in all of our seed products.

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