Reposition Seed Treatments As Agronomic Tools

"But I’d caution anyone from skipping a seed treatment this season—it could be a costly decision to forego treating soybeans.” ( USC )

Headed into planting season 2019, soybean seed quality has been a focus for many.

“It’s going to be a challenging year,” says Bret Gygi Technology Development Manager with Bayer. “There’s going to be a big rush to get planting done with a lot of flooded ground. And there have been seed quality issues as well. But I’d caution anyone from skipping a seed treatment this season—it could be a costly decision to forego treating soybeans.”

Specifically on soybean seed, seed companies, dealers and agronomists have been closely monitoring the supply, and this year may present itself to be a key year in repositioning seed treatments as agronomic tools--not just inputs with high payback.

“For soybean seed in 2019, we are dealing with lower germination and there’s potential for a lot of Phomopsis,” Gygi says. “Where seed treatments will really shine this year is helping farmers get the absolute most they can from the seeds they plant.”

Gygi points out that Acceleron from Bayer has two modes of action for suppressing Phomopsis.

He says retailers should plan now to be staffed up to meet demand.

In northern Iowa, Holden Asmus says they’ve already started to treat a lot of soybean seed for customers at Asmus Farm Supply locations.

“In the past few years, a lot of farmers have wanted to cut the expense of a seed treatment, but this year has been different,” Asmus explains.

Asmus Farm Supply is changing its approach to selling soybean seed treatment by not solely focusing on the ROI of the products, but rather positioning them with farmers as part of their overall approach to agronomy.

Asmus says with the soybean seed quality concerns this year, seed companies are recommending nothing less than a base fungicide which should signal to farmers that they seriously consider a seed treatment.

“We’ve seen most soybean seed tags between 85% to 90% germination,” he says. “With these ‘lower than our comfort zone’ numbers, we have to make sure farmers have even emergence. That means treating and inoculating the seed so it’s protected and can have the strongest start.”

Asmus says seed treatments can be another tool in a farmer’s agronomic toolbox, and Asmus Farm Supply is taking that positioning to their farmer customers. The goal is for customers to see early season seed treatments just like they see mid-season chemical applications. One example is controlling white mold.

“We’ve heard a lot of farmers coming through our doors with concerns about white mold because we had high pressures in 2018,” he says. “We treat soybeans with Headsup, which to the grower has a cost of $3/unit, but in normal pressures we’ve seen 3 to 7 bu. responses.”

In 2020, Asmus Farm Supply is launching  AFS Select Seed Treatment, which will include CruiserMaxx Vibrance, Headsup & Signum1.

“This is a pilot program with farmers so they can trust their agronomists to position the best products on their seed, which after their land, seed is the second most important investment a grower makes,” Asmus says.