Martha Blum, Field Editor of Agrinews
CHICAGO — A survey conducted by BASF found a significant number of farmers use soybean seed treatments.
BASF completed the survey in October, where it asked 250 growers if they used seed treatments and how they made decisions about using the products for their operations.
“We wanted to understand how seed treatments fit into their production practices,” said Steve Bergschneider, U.S. crop seed enhancement manager for BASF.
“Corn has been established as coming as a treated seed. However, soybean growers have just started into the practice a few years ago and the use has been increasing ever since,” he noted. “As they invest in higher-dollar seed, they look to extract higher yields, so they are starting to believe in the practice more and more.”
The research showed 93 percent of those surveyed used a seed treatment, or inoculant, on their soybean acres during the 2015 growing season.
“The study really showed there was a sound belief that seed treatments were providing them with a good opportunity to raise a good crop,” Bergschneider said.
However, he was surprised that many farmers don’t pick the product.
“They rely on the help of their retailer to sort out the product offerings and make decisions for them,” he said.
Of those in the survey, 83 percent said they were unsure of what brands or active ingredients make up the seed treatments they purchase.
In addition, 87 percent of the surveyed farmers indicated they would be open to using seed treatments in the future.
The top three factors mentioned by farmers when choosing seed treatments include:
- Return on investment;
- Risk mitigation
- Environmental conditions.
“Now that we have a better understanding, it will give us an opportunity to look at training the growers to help them better understand why a retailer might be making a decision for them,” Bergschneider said. “And to help them understand why they would want to select one brand over another.”
Most farmers think about the need for fertilizing every year.“Seed treatments can sometimes be a little different from that,” Bergschneider said.
Vault HP with Integral is an inoculant available from BASF.“It works on Rhizoctonia and Fusarium fungal diseases,” Bergschneider said. This product also works with rhizobia to stimulate root nodulation. “Producers may need to provide a high-count, healthy rhizobia when you’re looking at flooded soils that occurred in Indiana and Illinois this year,” Bergschneider said. “We’ve seen that in the past with river flooding, using a high-count rhizobia really helps. He said using products such as Vault HP have resulted in a consistent return on investment over the years, even at the current commodity prices.“With soybeans at $8 to $9 per bushel, we can still provide a nice return on investment to the customer,” he added.
“We also offer functional coatings that help plantability for growers and also handling of the seed for retailers,” he said. “Functional coatings allow the farmer to plant very accurately with less skips and double drops.” This is important, Bergschneider said, because accurate spacing drives better yields.
“We are just launching Obvius,” he noted. This fungicide seed treatment will help control harmful seedling diseases such as Ascochyta blight, Pythium, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia and Botrytis in a variety of crops.
During the next five years, BASF plans to introduce more than 20 new products. Farmers will have the opportunity to use products that will include seed-applied biologicals, coatings and a seed-applied fungicide, a seed-applied insecticide and a seed-applied bio nematicide.