Dispelling Myths about Seed Treatments

by John Toft, CCA in Nebraska and Iowa
Latham’s Regional Sales Manager in Nebraska

There is a common belief that seed treatments only pay when we experience colder, damper conditions at planting time. This past winter was mild with relatively little spring snowmelt. We also experienced unseasonably warm temperatures in March and April, which contributed to warmer, dryer conditions at planting time. As a result of weather and soil conditions at planting , many farmers opted not to treat their soybeans last spring.

Today I’d like to encourage you to view seed treatments differently. Instead of viewing seed treatment as an input cost, consider seed treatment as an insurance policy.

Why wouldn’t you want to protect a crop that’s worth more than $17 per bushel?

Insect pressure across the nation is at an all-time high, and if we can prevent that early plant feeding, we can add multiple bushels. By design, seed treatments protect the seedling plants until they have a fairly well-established root system. Almost all seed treatment insecticides belong to the neo-nicotinoid family of products. They do a great job of controlling insects while the plant is in the seedling stage, the effect soybean treatments have on soybean aphids longer lasting. Aphids are such fragile insects that it doesn’t take much of the chemical to kill them, so we see aphid control last from 40 to 50 days after planting.

Fungi are another factor hindering bean yields. Because producers are planting earlier each year, seed treatment provides added protection. Seed treatments also help protect against nematodes, which are becoming more prevalent. Many fully-loaded treatments may have innoculants, micronutrients or plant food.

There are many new technologies that chemical companies are bringing forward. This offers the producer better controls, and more importantly more freedom within their operations.

Latham Hi-Tech Seeds has treatment packages that offer a broad spectrum of control. SoyShield is Latham’s fungicide-only package, and SoyShield Plus contains fungicide and insecticide. The best part is, it takes less than a bushel of soybeans to pay for the cost of treatment!

Latham’s Early Order program makes seed treatment an even better value. Contact your local Latham® representative or contact the company directly at 1-877-GO-LATHAM (1.877.465.2842).