Ask the Latham Agronomist: Seed Treatments

Q: I view seed treatment as a cost, so I don’t order treated soybeans. I prefer to wait and see what the conditions are at planting time to determine whether I want to add a treatment. Since the weather turned wet and cold after my seed went in the ground this spring, how could I evaluate if treatment would have been worth the money?

Click to listen in on Mark’s responses:


A: Seed treatments certainly help protect soybean seed while it’s laying in wet, cold soil. But remember, a seed treatment isn’t a bullet proof coating. View seed treatment instead as an insurance policy that helps protect your seed investment from unusual circumstances. After all, it takes less than a bushel of soybeans to pay for the cost of treatment!

Also keep in mind that not all seed treatments are the same. For example, Latham’s signature SoyShieldTM, a fungicide-only package, while Latham’s SoyShield Plus with fungicide and insecticide. SoyShield Plus protects seeds and seedlings from disease and insect damage for up to 30 days. Latham Hi-Tech Seeds also adds a proprietary blend of polymer and seed coating to our seed treatment.

Taking a “wait and see approach” to applying seed treatment can be risky. Some Upper Midwest farmers planted soybeans in late April when the daytime temperatures were beautiful, although soil temperatures across the state were cooler than the 55 to 60 degrees we recommend for planting soybeans. Then the weather turned wet and cold once the soybeans have emerged.

Those cold rains caused chilling effect in some areas as we discussed last week on “Ask the Agronomist.” I believe seed planted later into warmer temperatures will actually emerge quicker than those planted into cold, wet soils.

We understand firsthand how hard it is to be patient when it’s planting season! Don’t let the date on the calendar override the need for soils to dry now. Wait for fit soils to resume planting. In the future, don’t let the temptation of early planting cause you to plant in April if conditions aren’t favorable for soybean seeds and seedlings.

Click on the audio link to hear Latham’s senior agronomist and product manager Mark Grundmeier provide more details on the air with farm broadcaster Liz Brown of KOEL. Remember, you can “Ask the Agronomist” each week of the growing season. Send your questions to us via our website, Twitter (@LathamSeeds) or Facebook.