Getting the crops off to the best start we can is at the top of any farmer's list. Seed treatments have helped us set the stage for excellent crops, while protecting our investment against environmental conditions and pests.
The corn deadlines are long past; we ordered most of the corn with Votivo. We have documented nematode pressure to be quite high, especially in some of our light, sandy fields. A few years ago, we did test strip trials of seed treated with nematacide vs. conventional seed treatments. There was a 6 bushel per acre difference.
We are sticking with seed treatment this year, but after marginal results last year we are also going back to Counter insecticide for some fields. Counter is one of the few treatment options that is labeled for nematodes. However, you have to be cautious of possible herbicide interactions.
After receiving two shipments last week, focus has shifted to soybeans. The area we are in has several progressive seed and fertilizer dealers. 'Premium' soybean seed treatments have been common for more than 10 years.
Right now, I'm making the final decisions concerning what treatment on which soybean seed. Each variety is scheduled to be planted in a specific field or fields. Several factors come into play:
Do I need an inoculant?
How many years has the field been in crops that are not hosts for cyst nematodes?
Does the seed have cyst nematode resistance - if so, what races?
Does this field have a history of root rots?
Is the field green with chickweed or hen bit?
Will there be additional insect pressure?
How quick is the soybean variety out of the ground?
Soybean seed treatments can get pricey pretty quick, especially if you're stacking a fungicide, insecticide, nematacide, and innoculant. However, at least for the time being, we have a pretty good chance of recouping our investment because of the value of grains. The cost is just over a bushel, or a 2% yield gain.