The days when you stirred in an inoculum, a black powder containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria, into the planter box with a screwdriver or stick and said you had treated your seed are long gone. You may still want to inoculate your seed, but seed treatment has become the method of choice for delivering several materials that help control both insects and diseases, especially early in the growing season when young seedlings are vulnerable and the material in the coating is still fresh.
Syngenta is working on another seed treatment for soybeans, called Clariva. Sygnenta spokespersons say this one is important because it would control soybean cyst nematodes. The seed treatment could be added along with other ingredients so that the seed processing facility would coat the seed once and you would have all the ingredients you need to help get the crop off to a fast start.
Soybean cyst nematodoes continue to be a problem in soybeans, and are more prevalent in certain areas than others. Once thought to be a problem only in sandy soils, farmers have learned the hard way that cyst nematodes can also be prevalent in other fields and get enough of a foothold to do damage and cut yields. First symptoms often show up as patches in the field. Back in the days when more people cultivated soybeans, the patches were often oblong because the cultivator helped move soil containing the nematodes. The next time that soybeans were planted there, the transplanted cyst nematodes would invade, making the patch bigger.
One of the problems with cyst nematode is that researchers have found you can suffer yield loss without even seeing visual symptoms. By the time you see symptoms, most agronomists say you're already losing considerable yield. In the past the recommendation was to sample fields for cyst nematode, and plant resistant varieties where you knew you had a cyst problem.
Though not yet available, this new product form Syngenta will be another tool to use to help fight this pest.