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​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“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.

Customer Spotlight

The Organic Grower

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Blue River Organic Seed has always made supplying organic seed its primary focus, as it is the core of our business. Even included in our name is a reflection and promise of this. However, supplying organic seed is only half of the equation. Our products must also bring value to our customers. Value can be in the form of extra yield potential or a special characteristic that meets a specific need. An example of this is found in one of our flagship products, PuraMaize. As GMO testing of grain becomes more routine due to customer demand, PuraMaize will show its true value to you, our customers. The time is near, and we are ready with new product releases for 2019 and beyond.

The Organic Grower

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Blue River is excited to kick off a new season. We are happy to announce the return of customer discounts that offer great savings potential, especially in the month of September.  In addition to our returning products, we have added several new corn, soybean, alfalfa and sorghum varieties to complete our 2016-2017 lineup. We are excited about our new products which have undergone extensive testing and were chosen for their outstanding performance in organic farming systems, with emphasis on strong yield potential. We will have good availability in all maturities, including late season corn.

The Organic Sower

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Organic farmers have significantly increased their use of sorghum sudangrass products in recent years.  This growth has been the result of several factors. - BMR sorghum sudangrass products have better digestibility and agronomics than older products - Seed costs per acre are often less than corn seed raised for silage  - BMR sorghum sudangrass products are often more drought tolerant - Because of later planting and rapid growth - BMR sorghum sudangrass products offer the grower more options and flexibility

In normal growing situations, the brown color of the mid-rib, often more pronounced when the plants are younger, allows the grower to identify the BMR products. The brown mid-rib is correlated with a reduced level of lignin in the stalks and plants.

Cattle, eMerge, PuraMaize, Sudangrass

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