Many of you are being bombarded with information about the “latest” seed enhancement to increase yield in soybeans. I agree this is an excellent method to protect seedlings and increase yield with relatively low cost and minimum impact on the environment. You are applying exact amounts to the seed in a very precise manner. However, we should be mindful that not all seed treatments and enhancements are compatible.
Last week, at the Southern Illinois ISA ILSOYADVISOR field day, we discussed many options for applying micro nutrients, inoculants and biologicals. Some things to keep in mind when discussing options with your seed supplier are: compatibility of the products to be applied, total volume of seed treatment slurry to be applied per unit and plantability of the treated seed.
First the compatibility If applying multiple products, make sure that they do not antagonize each other. One example: you should never mix molybdenum with an inoculant on the seed. molybdenum is toxic to rhizobia bacteria and you will literally kill your investment. While both are of great value to the grower, if you plan to use an inoculant seed treatment I would plan a very early application of molybdenum using a product containing multiple micro nutrients, and perhaps as early as V2 or V3 stage.
The next two issues actually go hand in hand. When applying our treatment slurry to the seed we should try to keep our total volume as close to 5 oz. per 100 lbs. as possible. Any more than that and we begin to run into issues with wet seed, caking in the bag, box or tender, as well as poor flowability of seed through today’s planting systems. There have also been issues with product build-up in the treater drum and on conveyor equipment. We can add a polymer seed coating that can help with plantability and the build-up issues, but that also adds to the slurry volume and cost. One of my pet peeves is that you should never apply talc to wet seed from the treater. Also, if it contains a rhizobia inoculant, talc will also kill bacteria and greatly lower your live bacteria per seed.
As with anything on extra management, seed enhancements that can increase yields and profit are a great deal if you do your research and follow a plan.
Mike Wilson is a Specialty Products Marketing Coordinator at Wabash Valley Service Company. For over 20 years, he has been working with farmers in ten counties in southeastern Illinois to improve economic yield in soybeans, corn and wheat. Mike has been a CCA since 1994 and is looking forward to being a part of the Soy Envoy program.