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But who’s counting? ... (Editorial)

A bag of seed is called a unit.
A unit equals 50 pounds, and seed usually sells by the unit.
Not so, starting this fall, with Pioneer Hi-Bred.
Pioneer intends to sell its soybean products by seed count per unit, rather than by weight, beginning in the fall of 2012 for varieties sold throughout North America for the 2013 planting season.
The number of soybean seeds sold per unit by Pioneer will be 140,000.
The advantage for Pioneer customers, the company said, is that buying by seed count provides a simple, convenient and more accurate means of planning their soybean crop.
“Our customers will benefit because they can more easily calculate the number of units they need based on their desired planting rates because the seed quantity per unit will always be consistent,” said Don Schafer, senior marketing manager, soybeans. “This change is in response to customer demand for consistent seed count packaging for more efficient field-by-field planning.”
Prior to this change, Pioneer sold soybean seeds by weight — 50 pounds of seed to a unit.
Soybean seeds can potentially vary in size, based on genetics and growing conditions, affecting the number of seeds per unit.
With this change to selling by count, the number of seeds per unit will be consistent for Pioneer customers, the company said.
Our question: Who’s going to do all of that counting?
For the record, we asked. Pioneer spokesman Jerry Harrington said the company “has the latest systems within its soybean production plants to count out allotments of 140,000-seed units for customers.”
That process will be complete by the 2012-13 sales season, he said.
We had envisioned forlorn workers seated at long tables, counting seeds.
“No, that doesn’t include people counting out soybeans,” Harrington replied. “It goes a lot faster than that.”