When Does Soybean Seed Treatment Pay?

Posted November 8, 2018

SOURCE: NE CropWatch

James Specht - Emeritus Professor of Agronomy | Loren Giesler - Extension Plant Pathologist | Robert Wright - Extension Entomologist | Randy Pryor - Extension Educator

Many farmers are looking for ways to trim input costs due to lower commodity prices this year. Cutting costs is usually not easy, and profitability shouldn't decrease because of it. Fall soybean seed purchases require farmers to decide about seed treatment even though they are unsure of next spring's weather conditions. The main cause for soybean seedling diseases is is saturated soil conditions and cold temperature. This results in slow emergence. Reduced seedling populations may be spatially erratic, especially in poorly drained areas, and cause spot-replant in those areas. Before deciding about seed treatments, soybean producers should answer the four questions below:

1. Does the field had a record of seedling or emergence issues?  If this is the case, use a fungicide to treat the soybean seed.

2. Are you planting your soybeans early? Early Planting.  The Nebraska Extension encourages that you do fungicide seed treatments. It is important to avoid having cool and wet soil that would cause poor stands. No-till fields will have cool soils longer into the season than tilled fields and likely will face an increase in seedling disease issues.

3. Does the field have a record of Phytophthora disease?  We recommend that you use a preventative fungicide treatment in this case.  These fields will need the appropriate fungicide package with the proper seed treatment rate for moderate to high level Phytophthora control. Specific  active ingredients like metalaxyl, mefenoxam, oxathiapiprolin, or ethaboxam fungicides have great phytophthora ratings. Even with resistant soybean varieties, we recommend a fungicide seed treatment as fields with Phytophthora also favor Pythium.

4. Does the field have a record Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS)?  If so, you should think about treating your soybeans with ILeVO┬«. This has proven to treat SDS in the latest university and industry trials. You'll want to analyze the price of the treatment versus past yield losses to SDS in the field. It is important to consider the percentage of the field that has been impacted historically. Some fields might benefit from using treated seed in only a section of the field."

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