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Seed Treatments to Navigate Spring Concerns

Mar 25, 2020

The 2020 crop season looks to be a wet spring but hopefully not like 2019. These wet soil conditions will greatly increase the importance of combating seedling diseases in our soybeans.  The wet 2019 weather throughout the Midwest created soil profiles that are prime for diseases and some fields are still waiting to be drained, by that plastic pipe that always seems too small. Soybeans prices are low and not looking favorable to plant them in these conditions. Either way, we still need to follow agronomic practices that are proven and have provided good return on investment with protection for soybeans.

How much of our beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria is still alive?

Most microbial populations need ample oxygen in the soil to flourish.  Soybeans need these nitrogen-fixing bacteria to take nitrogen from the air and fill the nodules that create the needed nitrogen for grain-fill.  CFE has tested Preside CL® inoculant ($3.75/unit cost) in our replicated trials for 2 years (at 6 sites) and we have gained an average of 1 bu/ac yield bump over our previous inoculant.  We suspect inoculants will be more important this year with our anaerobic soil conditions that likely killed many of the existing populations.

Pink color means nodules are actively fixing nitrogen.

Warm wet soils?

The chart below displays the conditions needed for diseases to thrive. Last year was wet and cold all the way into June, and this year already has warmer temps compared to last year. Three out of the five diseases we fight thrive in warm moist soils:

Root Production?

It is easy to think, “I don’t have a problem with those diseases I’ll just save the money.” You need to consider seed treatment is not just for protection with the presence of pest’s, but also will simulate root production leading to higher yields in the CFE test plot results.


Planting Dates and Populations? 

CFE did a replicated trial in 2019. We tested planting dates and populations and found that following our current agronomic practices, they do provide a yield benefit when the correct conditions exist. I believe a combination of seed treatment and planter performance will allow us to use lower rates because of better emergence. At CFE we use Warden® CX because of its superior performance improving final plant stands in the field. Another thing that is helping soybeans at lower populations is a PGR seed treatment. We have a product called Ascend®, it gives the soybean an extra bump of energy to get the plant up and out of the ground. Ascend has come with a nice 1.1 bushel advantage of the last 6 years of testing. If you’re going to cut the rate don’t cut the treatment.

White Mold?

We have tested several products over the years and the most affordable one we have found is Heads Up® seed treatment. At CFE we have combined it with another product for SDS and added a biological to stimulate nitrogen assimilation in the plant. It is now called RightStartTM. This product compared to other white mold treatments has a pretty low cost and simple to just add it to your seed while it is being treated with our other great products!

Contact your CFE Agronomist to get your seed treatment lined up for the 2020 planting season. 


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