Do Yield Enhancement Products Pay Off For Soybeans?

NCSU soil scientist Jim Dunphy presents research data for you to decide for yourself.

Published on: Mar 6, 2013

Jim Dunphy, N.C. State University crop scientist, recently made a crop production presentation to growers in Wayne County, N.C., on various potential yield enhancements that come in the form of soybean seed treatments.

"These are some of the more sophisticated seed treatments," Dunphy said. "They have several chemicals in them. All of them have a fungicide, if not two. All of them have an insecticide. Most of them have a growth enhancer. Some of them are not particularly cheap."

Dunphy presented his data by showing the treatment results in sets, grouped according to the research plots that had been planted and researched in the same locations together, accompanied by slides. He made comments on salient points about each group.

NCSU crop scientist Jim Dunphy.
NCSU crop scientist Jim Dunphy.

The slides were labeled, Potential Yield Enhancements, North Carolina 2012.

 "Take a look at the kind of yield response we got in North Carolina," Dunphy said.

Avicta Complete, 48.4 Bu/A
Triflex 6000, 48.7 Bu/A
Ponch/Votivo, 49.0 Bu/A
Inovate, 48.3 Bu/A

Taken together this group averaged a yield of 48.8 Bu/A.
The check was an average of test plots in Columbus Hertford, Hyde, Lenoir
and Onslow counties, with yields coming in at 47.9 Bu/A.

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~"In this group we got less than 1-bushel yield difference," Dunphy noted. "That is a little lower than we've been getting (in research in years past). We've been getting one to two bushels response with these seed treatments. This is not a big boost."

His second group of these potential enhancements included:

Optimize 400, 49.9 Bu/A
BioForge (seed treatment), 50.3 Bu/A
Both of the above, together, which had a response of 49.1 Bu/A
Dynasty/Pentilex, 48.3 Bu/A
BioForge/Dynasty/Pentilex, 49.5 Bu/A
The check data, an average of plots in Columbus Hertford, Hyde, Pamlico counties came in at 47.9 Bu/A.

About this second group, "Optimize 400, is a souped-up inoculant," Dunphy noted. "We've had that in our tests for about six years and we've typically gotten a 1.5 to 2 Bu/A response."

Dunphy's third group of enhancements included:

BioForge (as seed treatment), 50.3 Bu/A
BioForge at R2, 49.1 Bu/A
BioForge at R2 plus sugar, 50.1 Bu/A
BioForge both times (as a seed treatment and at R2), 50.4 Bu/A
BioForge both times (as a seed treatment and at R2), plus sugar, 49.8 Bu/A
In the check plot data, an average of test plots in Columbus Hertford, Hyde, Pamlico counties, the response was 47.9 Bu/A.

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~"The bottom line in this group is the BioForge worked a little bit, the sugar didn't," Dunphy noted.

Dynasty/Pentilex 48.3 Bu/A
BioRed 48.5 Bu/A
Mow at 4 leaves 37.8 Bu/A

The check for this group, an average of plots in Columbus Hertford, Hyde, Pamlico counties, produced 47.9 Bu/A.

"Keep in mind, this is one-year's data and I'm a little shy of one year's data, whether it does or doesn't fit my biases," Dunphy said, summing up all the data presented.

Still, there's one point that seems apparent from the numbers above unless some further research uncovers some real surprises in the future. "None of these seem to be generating big increases for us," he said. "That is important for growers to know, too."