Seed Considerations for 2022 (09/23/21)
At the end of the cropping season, during harvest, there is a good opportunity to evaluate the crop stands across the field and observe if there is a way to improve the plant distribution in the future. One way to get better stands it to use certified seed compared with bin run seed for those crops that do not have company restrictions on replanting your own harvested crop. Good seed and high yielding varieties are keys to optimizing the chances for optimum yields. With the drought of this past season, some of the seeds may be shriveled. It also may be a bit more difficult to obtain seed of varieties that are multiplied in the drought-stricken region of the state. Timely reserving seed of the varieties you would like to plant in 2022 would be advisable.
Another way to increase the plant population it the use of seed treatments. Many seed companies will offer the option to purchase pre-applied seed treatment. Usually, with seed treatment the number of seeds developing into and established plant is higher that when no seed treatments are used. Results from a large survey of producers (a total of 1120 data points were used) found about 2/3 used seed treatment on their soybean and there was a significant yield response to seed treatments (Figure 1).
The impact that a fungicide seed treatment will have on plant population and plant health is related to the pressure from specific pathogens/diseases. Growers are most likely to see yield increases if the seed treatment used targets the pathogen(s) of greatest concern. Alternately, applying broad spectrum product, which provides efficacy on both fungal pathogens (such as Fusarium and Rhizoctonia) and oomycete pathogens (such as Pythium and Phytophthora), will increase the likelihood of managing root rots. A helpful resource developed by a multi-state group of University plant pathologists (under the name Crop Protection Network) provides general efficacy information on different fungicide seed treatments on many pathogens that impact soybeans. Although the resource only reports efficacy information on soybean root rots, some of the same pathogens also cause disease on other crops, so data may be useful. Importantly, the resources provide a general guide on efficacy against pathogens.
Extension Plant Pathologist, Broad-leaf Crops
Extension Agronomist Broadleaf Crops