Farmer Likes Treating Seed on the Farm

Ability to treat purchased seed adds flexibility.

Published on: Jul 29, 2009
More and more companies are offering treated soybean seed today. Tell them you want it treated and they've likely got at least one option, if not more, for treating. Many seed companies are coming with their own proprietary seed treatments, such as Monsanto's Acceleron, standard on its' new Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield varieties.

As seed treatments evolve, most today consist of a package of products rolled into one treatment, often protected by a polymer that encases the active ingredients around the sees. Besides fungicides, many of the newer, high-end seed treatments include an insecticide. The goal is control of early generation bean leaf beetles, plus some help for the first part of the growing season against soybean aphids, depending upon the active ingredient used in the specific product you're applying.

Jack Maloney, Brownsburg, believes his best option is to buy seed untreated from his seed dealer, then treat it himself. There are several advantages, including his last-minute ability to change the selection of treatments he applies, plus the fact that if he winds up not using all the seed, it's still salvageable if it's not treated. "Far and away, though, the biggest advantage is cost savings vs. buying seed that's already treated," he notes. "I can cut my seed treatment costs by about half."

Of course, that doesn't count his initial investment in seed treating equipment. While many treaters are designed for commercial treating operations, there are some on the market that are smaller, portable, and yet efficient and effective at coating seed. The latter is the kind that Maloney has on his farm.

A portion of his farm is rented to Bayer Corporation as a test location. It gives Maloney a chance to see what's coming in the pipeline before many others get to learn about it. Right now, Bayer's pipeline of new products is rather extensive.

Maloney treated a good portion of the seed he purchased untreated himself this year. He uses an auger conveyor to load bulk soybeans into a seed tender, or into a gravity wagon converted to take soybeans to the field. Sometimes he also uses the big plastic seed boxes to move seed around. He's shying away from the 2,000 pound minibulk cloth bags because they're harder for him to handle.

In the future, Maloney hopes to capitalize on his investment by also treating seed for neighbors. He figures that he could serve three to four operations with his treater.