Low seed germination scores have been a topic of discussion this spring, especially concerning soybeans following the late, wet harvest of 2018 which led to increased seed-borne diseases. Couple that with spring storm Wesley and the cool, wet weather being experienced in most of the United States and there’s an increased risk for disease and decreased stands. While the ramifications from a wet fall continue to linger, there are steps that can be taken this spring to minimize the impact.
First, check seed for the germination rate. In an average year it is common to have a 90%+ germination rate, but that’s not always the case. It is important to look at each lot to enable the best management decisions regarding the seed.
Second, protect your seed with a seed treatment to improve both germination and survivability of infected seed. Choosing the right product for the right pest is critical. Phomopsis and Cercospora (purple seed stain) have been very prevalent this year. Some actives are only effective against surface colonizing organisms and not for those that have penetrated the seed coat like Phomopsis or Cercospora. Products that are locally systemic are the best at controlling seed-borne diseases like those. For purple seed stain, Phomopsis and other key seed and soil born soybean diseases, fludioxonil and thiophanate-methyl are effective tools. Both can be found in Spirato® IM™ 348 FS. However, if the disease has decimated the seed and the seed tissues are not penetrable by the product, the only effective tool at that point is a good seed cleaner.
Finally, consider adjusting seeding rates to compensate for challenging field conditions and germination rates.
Remember, seed treatments offer an added layer of protection against plant pathogens and help with overall health and seedling vigor. This can help minimize the risk of needing to replant based on poor emergence. It’s crucial to select the seed treatment best fit the specific fields and geography to maximize the benefit.