Growers buying Cargill seeds won't see many changes this spring. But by next year, they can expect more seed choices and a somewhat changed company. Mycogen Seeds, which completed the purchase of Cargill's seed division November 1, recently met with Farm Industry News to outline its plans for integrating the two seed companies.

Combined with Cargill Hybrid Seeds, Mycogen now becomes the third largest seed corn producer in the U.S. In addition, Mycogen now is the largest sunflower seed producer with about 50% of the U.S. business.

Mycogen, an affiliate of Dow AgroSciences, intends to remain a leader in developing value-added traits and biotechnology for corn, sunflowers, canola and cotton. It will continue to market this technology to third parties.

Business as usual. “We need to have a strong seed business to platform our traits,” reports W. Pete Siggelko, Dow AgroSciences vice president. New traits from Mycogen will be marketed in Cargill Seed lines and distributed through Cargill dealers along with Cargill's existing lines. This spring, Mycogen and Cargill dealers will sell a few lines from each other's hybrids. But the lines will be limited. Mycogen offers 72 lines this spring and Cargill Seed is selling 146 lines.

In 2002, both companies will go to the marketplace as one company with about 100 different product lines, according to Tim Kroenke, business unit leader, Mycogen Seeds. Market research currently under way should help company officials decide on a brand name. Mycogen owns the right to use the Cargill Seed name for three years.

Mycogen intends to focus business on the Corn Belt and discontinue Cargill Seed work in some southern states.

“I feel we have things in place to be one of the top players in the [corn hybrid] business,” says Tom Wiltrout, global business leader, Dow AgroSciences. Cargill Seed was one of the last keys to the company's securing its corn seed future, he adds. Now it will be able to generate hybrids competitively in the marketplace.

Future seeds. Meanwhile, the company hopes to license a new hybrid that combats the European corn borer more successfully than current Bt hybrids. It expects to market it widely in 2002.

Mycogen also anticipates providing a hybrid with resistance to corn rootworm by 2002-2003. Silage remains another area where the company intends to focus breeding efforts.