Are Soybean Seed Treatments Worth the Investment?

Seed treatments are one of the fast-growing segments of crop production and protection today, with most of the seed treatment decisions made on soybean acres. However, deciding what seed treatments-if any-will be the most beneficial for a particular operation can be challenging.

One reason deciding on treatments can be so difficult has to do with the sheer number of available choices. The many choices include everything from biologicals to fungicides to growth promoters to inoculants. Thankfully, a decision can be made very close to planting season since seed dealers are able to customize these treatments on-site. This means that you can use your most up-to-date field agronomic issues, soil condition and weather forecasts to make as informed decision as possible.

Comparing the risk of seed treatments versus the reward of these treatments is probably the most significant consideration when it comes to seed treatments. Choosing whether or not to use seed treatments can be difficult and must be based on factors such as affordability. It is paramount, then, to carefully assess whether you truly need seed treatments to manage risk.

Choosing not to use seed treatments can be risky, as well. After all, you need to decide when you feel comfortable enough that any risk factors are remote enough to forgo seed treatment. For example, do current soil and weather conditions signal rapid emergence and strong growth following planting? If so, then seed treatments are unlikely to be worth the expense. Likewise, delayed planting that carries into warm and well-drained soil also may signal that seed treatments are unnecessary. On the other hand, cold spells or significant rainfall can indicate the need to protect your seed investment with treatments.

Regardless of the amount and type of information you have, when it comes time to decide on whether or not to use seed treatments, or which seed treatments to use, there will never be absolutes. The benefits and risks for your particular operation will need to be carefully weighed and, in the end, only you will be able to make the final decision. The key is to assess all of the factors and then decide if seed treatments are worth the investment.