What Soybean Seed Quality Looks like for 2019

After last years harvest, soybean producers are wondering if they should be concerned with soybean seed quality. 2018’s fall harvest was in the midst of a continual pattern of unusual dry then wet weather. For some states, like Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin soybean seed may take a big hit this year.

As trade deals and harsh weather continues for this year, uncertainty still remains with soybean seed supplies. Soybean seed quality in question as well and this year’s crop could be looking uncertain.

High moisture pegged soybean seeds to turn white, chalky or black and damaged. This has impacted germination rates, less vigor and an increase in seed borne diseases. Along with excessive rainfall came a delayed harvest. Which in turn is a perfect combination for disease and colonization by a group of fungal species classified as Diaporthe.

The excessive rain that came at the end of August and throughout the months of September and October caused large amounts of infected soybean pods by Diaporthe. Diaporthe affects any part of the soybean plant above ground, ultimately killing the plant.

Crop rotation and high quality, cleaned, treated seed are the primary controls for this disease.

What does this mean for the 2019 planting season?

For producers this means checking for any deformities in their soybean seed and utilizing multiple seed cleaning steps to achieve less than 20% damaged seed in the lot. Growers should be testing for germination this time of year and a good idea to check germination rates again next spring as well.  Producers may need to make population adjustments if necessary or moving to a different system completely.

During commercial seed processing an effort is made to sort out the infected seeds but some infected seed can make it through. Although, treatment can not repair damage, it can help limit the spread of disease. Growers should also note, not all treatments work for all types of land and pathogens. Producers should work with an expert to come up with the best mode of action.

Although the Midwest was hit with odd weather last fall as well, Adam Spellhaug from Peterson Farm Seed says, this years seed quality is looking alright.

Listen to what Adam Spellhaug has to say about soybean seed quality in the Midwest here: