Wyckoff Hybrids Inc.

Growing on four generations of supplying dependable corn and soybean seeds
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Elizabeth Towne

In North Valparaiso, Indiana, Wyckoff Hybrids Inc. is a family-owned and -operated fourth-generation seed farm with an 83-year tradition of providing sustainable farming practices and superior seed genetics to Midwest growers. Situated on 3,700 acres, Wyckoff Hybrids is hard at work to help customers plan for a productive growing season.

The company’s fourth-generation family farming started with George Bayard Wyckoff in 1903. He moved to the Valparaiso area and purchased 200 acres of farmland where he raised corn and cattle for 14 years before retiring and renting the land to a neighbor.

Faith, family and farming

George Bayard’s son, Louis Kenyon “LK” Wyckoff attended Purdue University, graduating with a degree in animal husbandry. After college, LK eventually saved enough to begin farming his father’s land in 1927. With an interest in the emerging field of hybridizing seed corn, he started Wyckoff Hybrids in 1932.

LK passed his love of farming and the seed industry onto his two sons, James and John Wyckoff. They also attended Purdue, majoring in agronomy and genetics. After college and LK’s tragic death, Jim and John rose to the challenge of leading Wyckoff Hybrids. “My father, James Wyckoff and my uncle John, took over the company in 1963 at just 27 and 25 years old,” tells Ken Wyckoff, third-generation president of Wyckoff Hybrids. “At first, it wasn’t easy and they struggled for a bit.”

Ken’s brother-in-law, Chris Goetz, joined the company in 1969 and went on to study agricultural economics at Purdue. “I also graduated from Purdue in 1981 after earning an agronomy degree and I returned to the family farm business.”

“We’re all family here and everyone is stockholders in the company,” adds Ken. “I have two sons, Jacob and Adam, who are involved in production and Chris has three boys, Matthew, Luke and Nathaniel, who are also involved in the business. This sense of family purpose and ownership has fostered great family values and personal relationships we extend to our customers, who are much like family.”

Although many aspects of the seed business have changed since Wyckoff Hybrids was established in 1932, the company has never waved from LK Wyckoff’s vision. “The goal when we first produced hybrid seed corn in 1932 was the production of better corn for better farmers,” LK Wyckoff is famously quoted as saying. “Our continued success is based on superior and careful breeding and always improving for today and tomorrow.”

In-house production

Wyckoff Hybrids continues to move LK’s vision forward. “2014 into 2015 has brought some exciting times here at Wyckoff’s,” says Luke Goetz, company sales and marketing director. “We are about to finish our much-needed seed conditioning plant and have added another salesman to help with growing demand we continue to see for our products. We are moving in the right direction with providing our valued customers the right products on the right acres.”

With 2,200 acres of seed production and a newly established small seed division in Decatur, Michigan, Wyckoff Hybrids continues to handle all aspects of seed growing, processing and production in-house. “As a small, independent company with just 14 employees, this truly sets us apart in an industry dominated by large corporations,” says Ken. “We produce 90 to 95 percent of our own product; we raise our own soybeans and corn. We do all of the planting and harvesting ourselves. We spray and sort and do seed treatment in-house as well.”

Ken says the company does some of testing in-house, in addition to working with parent seed companies, but Wyckoff Hybrids’ relationship with the Indiana Crop Improvement Association (ICIA) lends some added support. “We have been affiliated with the ICIA for many years; my brother-in-law served on the board for four years,” says Ken. “We use ICIA testing as our primary testing facility, to compare results and research new genetic traits. Having multiple sources for testing gives us more confidence when we sell. ICIA also does seed inspections. They’re a great organization to have on your side.”

Leading results

Wyckoff Hybrids serves producers throughout Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois, working hand-in-hand with major parent seed companies to select top-of-the-line genetics and seed varieties that work best for farmers in the region. “My nephew, Matthew Goetz, works with our parent seed company to select leading genetics and seed varieties,” says Ken. “Right now, we’re working on 20 to 30 different test plots, lining up with area farmers and trying to finalize seed-corn production plans.”

Leading the lineup in corn production is Wyckoff Hybrids’ 2640 GENVT3PRIB. This dependable corn hybrid is also available as 2640 RR and 2640 conventional. This seed has contest-winning yield potential coupled with high stress tolerance, good root and stalk strength and is a great choice for continuous corn acres and fungicide applications. “This seed can be planted on all soil types at moderate to high populations,” adds Ken.

On the soybean side, Wyckoff Hybrids’ W3103 CR2 is a widely adapted soybean seed with superior yield performance and excellent stress tolerance. Soybeans grow bushy and branchy with outstanding standability. “This is a great choice for irrigated acres and is a reliable plant on any type of soil,” notes Ken. “This is a proven line with an 80 percent win rate in elite tests over the last three years.”

From leading seed lines to state-of-the-art facilities, Wyckoff Hybrids is doing everything in its power to better serve its family of customers. “We just completed a new seed tower project,” says Ken. “This has significantly sped up our processing. In fact, we started about six weeks late this year and with the new seed tower we finished actually finished ahead of schedule.”

After 83 years in the seed business, Wyckoff Hybrids is known for driving value as a trusted name in dependable hybrid varieties and unwavering family ownership and commitment to regional producers.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
FCS of Mid-America