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CropTalk: Choices in Soybean Seed Treatments

October 2019

Published on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Over the past couple of decades, the ag industry has increased its focus on seed treatment research and development. This, coupled with the more challenging environment soybean seed is planted into as farmers plant earlier and more rapidly, has led to seed treatment being included on most soybean seed planted today. In 1996, Beck’s first offered a complete seed coating package on soybeans with SureGro. This, in combination with the FastStart treatment package on corn, led to Escalate®, a proprietary mix of yield enhancing products that came standard on all Beck’s corn and soybeans, in 2009. Beck's has continued to evaluate new seed treatments and combinations each year, creating an ongoing evolution in the seed treatment offering. The latest evolution for Escalate is the launch of a three-tiered seed treatment option for soybeans for the 2020 sales year, allowing farmers to choose the treatment that makes the most sense for their farming operation.



This offering is standard Escalate®, which still provides as good or better protection than many other seed treatment offerings in the industry with two fungicides, an insecticide, and a bio-stimulant product at no additional charge per unit.


For an additional $4.95 per unit, Nemasect® is added to the Escalate® seed treatment. This treatment mix contains the same components as the base treatment, but includes Nemasect which provides protection against many of the most common pathogenic nematode species in soybeans, including soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Soybean varieties have relied on the same genetic resistance to manage SCN for many years, leading to a gradual reduction in efficacy which increases the need for additional means of protection. Nemasect also provides a second mode of action against earlyseason insects like grubs.


For $8.95 per unit over the base Escalate® package, farmers can get the Nemasect®, as mentioned previously, plus Escalate | Nemasect | SDS+ includes azoxystrobin fungicide that has increased activity on pythium and rhizoctonia early in the season. This treatment also includes an additional fungicide, thiabendazole, for protection from sudden death syndrome (SDS). Thiabendazole, at the rate applied in Beck’s seed treatment, provides protection from SDS similar to ILeVO®, but does so without the halo effect often exhibited with that product. Escalate | Nemasect | SDS+ also contains a biological, Heads Up®, that initiates the plant's systemic acquired resistance, which reduces soybean infection from sclerotinia white mold in addition to adding to the plant's ability to resist SDS infection.

Why the need for three options? Farmers need different levels of protection, depending on their geography, farming situations, variety selection, and many other variables. If the primary concern is early-season protection from seedling diseases and insects, along with buying treated soybeans at a value price, the base Escalate seed treatment may be the best option. However, if pests like nematodes or diseases like sudden death syndrome or white mold are of concern, the increased levels of protection may be important. With three levels offered, one of them will provide the option that is ideal for each situation. When ordering soybean seed for next year, keep in mind that variety selection is the most important decision when it comes to managing diseases like SDS or white mold, but a seed treatment is definitely an important tool to minimize the impacts of some of the most common pests in soybeans. 

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Pat Holloway

Pat Holloway

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