Agronomy Talk

Agronomy Talk: Escalate® Performance in Warmer Soil Temperatures

Published on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

What exactly does Beck’s Escalate® yield enhancement system protect your seed against? 

Think of our Escalate system as a toolbox. We don’t necessarily know what the weather will bring each spring, but we know we are equipped with a full toolbox that can help us combat whatever Mother Nature throws our way. 

Who could have predicted the weather we’ve been handed this spring? But by thoroughly testing the fungicides, insecticides and other yield enhancement products in our yearly Escalate trials, the Beck’s team can provide the most complete seed treatment ‘toolbox’ to our customers. Should we have a cool, wet spring, you can be confident that we have the tools to fix the problem. Should planting be delayed, Escalate can combat the diseases and/or insects that favor warmer soil temperatures. There are still a number of seedling diseases and different insects that can affect crop stands as soil temperatures rise.

Rhizoctonia root and stem rot are favored by warm, moist soils. This disease is more pronounced during the early growth stages for soybeans. The lesions are described as ‘brick red’ on the hypocotyl. 

Rhizoctonia infection is characterized by its brick red color. 

Phytophthora root rot generally favors warmer soil conditions than Pythium seed and root rot, but both water molds are seedling stressors. Damping off symptoms consists of brown, water-soaked lesions on young plants. We could still see some water mold damage, especially with the rainfall patterns we’ve experienced this spring, as rain events every third or fourth day keeps soil moisture levels up. It should also be noted that heavy rainfall events producing more than 2 to 3 in. of rain around or after planting can initiate additional rounds of infection for seedlings to fight off. The Escalate ‘toolbox’ has you covered in any condition for these pests. 

Plants ranging from healthy seedling to severe Pythium infection.

Beck’s team has selected fungicide combinations for our Escalate system to protect and enhance seedling germination. The Escalate package on corn currently delivers five different fungicides while the standard treatment for soybeans includes two. Escalate SDS, which is the addition of ILeVo® on soybeans, offers an additional fungicide to help control Sudden Death Syndrome, which favors cool, wet soil conditions. 

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is a pest that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Warm or cool soil temperatures at planting won’t slow this #1 pest in soybeans. This year, the microscopic worms may have been given a population boost in fields that were late to get sprayed because of wet field conditions. Purple Dead Nettle and Henbit are both winter annual weeds with purple flowers and both are strong alternative hosts of SCN. Fields with a noticeable ‘purple carpet,’ or purple patches of these weeds, may see increased reproduction and increased populations of SCN before soybeans are even planted. 

Fortunately, each and every bag of Beck’s soybeans are protected by Nemasect™, a biological nematicide. Beck’s Escalate powered by Nemasect seed treatment is the only system on the market that includes a nematicide on each unit of soybeans and corn for the 2019 season at no additional charge. Nemasect protects young plants from various nematodes, along with other soil-dwelling pests such as seed corn maggot, wireworm, and white grub. For corn and soybeans, the standard Escalate package has your back when it comes to nematodes. For nematodes targeting corn, (lesion, stunt, dagger, stubby root and needle) Beck’s Escalate corn package has two ‘tools’ in the toolbox with Poncho®/VOTiVO® 2.0 and Nemasect. If you chose to upgrade your soybean treatment package to Escalate SDS, the ILeVO component of Escalate SDS gives your soybeans an additional mode of action to combat nematodes. 

Corn rootworm eggs hatch late May to early June in most of the Midwest. These new larvae are opportunists that feed on corn roots and root hairs. Corn rootworm is a possible stressor to corn plants that are already off to a late start. For delayed planting into warmer soils, there is good news as wireworms could be less of an issue this year as larvae tend to migrate deeper into the soil profile as temperatures increase. Spraying a fall burndown was tricky last year, as was getting a pre-emerge down early this spring. Wireworms and white grubs are both more prevalent in fields that have existing vegetation and in no-till situations. In the case of these three insects, Beck’s Escalate corn package has two ‘tools’ or modes of action at the farmer’s disposal to battle these pests. Both Nemasect and Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 have activity on corn rootworm, wireworms, and white grubs. 

White grubs (the larger pest at center) and wireworms (top right) are typical early-season insect pests controlled by Escalate.

Bean Leaf Beetles are a notorious pest of early planted soybeans. Soybeans are usually the first food source for the beetles to run to. However, with the later planting dates we have experienced this spring, we may not experience economically damaging levels on soybean seedlings this late in the year. If a field is isolated or near a wooded area, bean leaf beetles may still be a problem, but the insecticide in our soybean Escalate system is ready to help protect your soybean seedlings. 

No matter what the rest of planting brings, the Beck’s Escalate seed enhancement system is in your toolbox to help protect your corn and soybeans.



Escalate® and Nemasect™ are trademarks of Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc. Poncho®, VOTiVO® and ILeVo® are trademarks of Bayer.


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Jonell Winger

Jonell Winger

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