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Update from the Field: Start Right, Start Strong

Posted by Dave Dyson, Agronomist on December 18, 2018

This post may reference products and/or services only available to our Retail Farm Center customers. For more information contact your Territory Manager at The Andersons.

While visiting several Farm Center locations this last week, I overheard numerous conversations about the poor quality of soybean seed germination for the 2019 seed stock. Early reports have some soybean seed germination as low as 80 percent. Typically, soybean germination runs around 90-95 percent. Fungal disease on the seed is the most likely cause of the reduced germination. This year’s delayed harvest of soybeans, beyond what is considered an ideal window of time, afforded the opportunity of diseases to infect seed pods and in some instances, the seed itself.

The continuous rainfall that occurred throughout late summer and fall set up this year’s soybean crop to be susceptible to fungal disease, which typically infects soybean pods between the R5 and R6 growth stages. This is important because only infections initiated in the pods can infect seeds and cause seed decay. Seeds will not become infected once moisture is below 19 percent. However, during periods of wet and warm weather, seed infection can continue or resume if seed moisture increases to more than 19 percent. Infected seeds will have a lower probability of germination when planted. If soil conditions are wetter and cooler than normal, this could drastically impact both the survival and stand count of plants. Diminished seed quality, vigor, germination, and emergence are all consequences of seed decay. 

Now that we know what the problem is, how do we go about dealing with low germination seed that could be infected with fungal diseases? I believe there is a two-point plan of attack that needs to be put into action next spring during soybean planting. First, we need to stop the fungal infection by applying a quality fungicide to the seed. Many dealers can have their seed treated with a fungicide to increase the chances of germination and prevent seedling diseases. Depending on the germination rate and incidence of infection, the use of a seed treatment may be warranted.

Second, if we have a soybean planter with in-furrow starter attachments, place a high quality/low-salt starter with a fungicide right next to the seed. Michigan State has shown that placing a starter on soybean populations as low as 50,000 emerged plants/acre can promote vegetative growth. The added vegetative growth caused the low population plots to close the rows in the same time as the high population plots. I have observed soybean starter experiments and, as you can see in figure 1, Korrect™ has stood out from the pack at achieving a 7 bu/ac advantage over the check.

Figure 1: Observations from the replicated starter study at the Walton, IN plot. Korrect out-yielded the check by almost 7bu/ac.

In conclusion, we have a looming problem that will come to a head once the soybeans have emerged. Unfortunately, once the seed is in the ground there is little we can do. There are many options we have up until the time when we plant the soybean seeds. As you can see in figure 2, Korrect is a 3-0-20 product derived from potassium acetate, is very safe to apply on roots and leaf tissue, and can provide potassium to small emerging plants. I recommend Korrect at a rate of 1gal/ac in-furrow with a soybean fungicide labeled for in-furrow use.

Figure 2: Korrect data sheet



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David Dyson

Dave Dyson is a regional agronomist for The Andersons’ Farm Centers which are located throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. He is an Indiana native and grew up on a dairy farm in Miami County. A graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Crop & Soil Science, Dave has a deep knowledge of various agronomic topics and is committed to helping growers improve their crops. If you have any questions, Dave can be reached at david_dyson@andersonsinc.com


Korrect is a registered trademark of The Andersons, Inc.

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