Sunday, February 8, 2015

Should I Treat My Soybean Seed?

We had a discussion on Crop Talk recently whether farmers should treat or purchased treated soybean seed this year.  Treatment products have become better but also very expensive.  My local seed house dropped the Rancona products because their customers just won't pay the added price.

"Many farmers may be questioning whether their soybeans need a fungicide seed treatment this planting season. But that depends on many factors – from weather and planting date to drainage and seed costs. If conditions or a field’s history do not dictate the use of a fungicide seed treatment, then it may not be the best option for you.

The soy checkoff funds seed-treatment research, providing U.S. soybean farmers with practical production knowledge and helping protect their yields against seedling diseases.

Applying seed treatments is a rapidly growing trend. In fact, the soybean industry estimates that 60 to 70 percent of the 2014 soybean seed planted had a seed treatment. That’s compared with 30 percent in 2008 and 8 percent in 1996, according to Gary Munkvold, Ph.D., plant pathology and microbiology professor at Iowa State University.

But despite the rise in seed treatment use, it might not be the best option for your operation. Here are six things to consider:

1. Farmers with poorly drained or no-tilled fields, continuous-soybean or soybean-corn rotations and a history of replanting are the most likely to see the added benefit of using a seed treatment, according to The Ohio State University.

2. When spring conditions are cool and wet and when planting occurs in late April to early May, seed-treatment fungicides are an effective tool, according to Shawn Conley, soybean extension specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

3. The use of a seed treatment is most impacting in fields with a history of post-planting problems, such as minor soil crusting, temporary flooding, soil compaction or poorly drained soils, according to the University of Kentucky. Treatments are also useful when farmers use low seeding rates and when farmers plant seed with a moderate germination rate or when the germination rate is unknown.

4. Using a fungicide treatment on soybean seeds will increase the probability of achieving a satisfactory stand and will enhance the early-season vigor of established seedlings, according to the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board.

5. With the increase in cost of seed, many farmers don’t want to overplant. As a result, according to Iowa State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison, some are decreasing their seeding rate and using the money they save on seed treatments instead.

6. Fungicide seed treatments showed an average yield increase of 2.5 bushels per acre over an eight year period, according to Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Always remember to separate treated seed and harvested soybeans to protect the integrity of the U.S. soybean supply. This will avoid putting the U.S. soybean industry’s relationship with customers beyond the elevator in jeopardy.

This concurs with my thinking.  What do you think?



  1. You get two blogs today, I've got a stockpile of them and missed 20 days or so in December and January. Got soybeans on my brain today so good time to talk about seed treatments. What do we cut out of costs and which ones pay their way? I am healthy enough I can still think and write so here you go.


  2. Ed,

    Guess I missed the discussion in crop talk. I haven't been treating my beans, mostly because I don't seem to have luck planting them early especially in my no till program. I know one treatment program our local coop was pushing is $20/bag. Maybe its just being hard headed but I've never been too interested in $70-$80/unit beans. But at the same time I've never been able to hit the 70/yield mark so maybe its time to try something different. My experiences no-tilling last week of May into June I just don't see it paying me back here.