Bean sprout from a pile of beans blusezhou/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

Seed selection for 2019: A shot in the dark?

Decisions may come down to cost, programs, and treatment options.

We’ve been thinking about changing soybean trait platforms for the upcoming year. In the old days we were able to settle into a lazy boy recliner around thanksgiving time with a highlighter and the recently delivered plot books.

The last few years, the plot books have been coming later and this year Thanksgiving is early.

I don’t like that we must order seed before we even get the combine into storage. It’s just way too early! However, we need to make decisions to get an allocation of seed we may want.

We do stipulate that anything may change at any time. And although harvest is over, evaluating performance is a challenge. Wait too long, and making changes will become more difficult as product availability will go down.

We had plans to try some comparison plots this year – irrigated on one side of the road, dryland on the other. But like many farmers, we just weren’t able to get it done. Of the plots that did get planted, I’ve heard there are still quite a few yet to be harvested.  Weather as of late hasn’t cooperated at all.

Little info available

Clicking through seed company websites, only a small number of plots are available, so I’m finding it very difficult to compare platforms. I have been able to find some data sets out of Michigan State, Illinois, and Iowa State, but in each set of plots, it seems a different trait platform is the winner. At this point, I’m not sure which road to go down.

Decisions may come down to cost, programs, and treatment options. In the past I have gone down the road of fully treated soybeans. That is everything from fungicide, insecticide, inoculant, and cyst protections. I’ve even seen PGR’s (plant growth regulators) and zinc offered on seed this year.

Of course, often it’s hard to know if these additional products are worth the money spent. Afterall, not many test strips go in when you’re planting out of mini bulk. After suspected issues with herbicide sensitivity and possible seed treatment interaction we may skinny down the mix.

There’s a lot of pressure to pick winners for 2019. Wish me luck!

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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