St. Jean Baptiste, Man. — Producers shouldn’t think they can cut corners on good agronomy by using fancy seed treatments, says a Manitoba soybean specialist.
“Relying on the seed treatment is not (enough,)” Manitoba Agriculture’s Dennis Lange said in an interview at St. Jean Farm Days.
“It has to be an all-encompassing approach. If you have been growing soybeans every year for the last 10 years and you decide to use a seed treatment now to help protect against phytophthora in the spring, it’s probably not going to give you the results you are looking for.”
Phytophthora root rot is a common soybean disease that doesn’t tend to affect canola. Prairie farmers aren’t too accustomed to dealing with the disease but are accustomed to hearing about seed treatments that can protect soybean plants against it.
However, Lange said that’s not an excuse to get sloppy with rotations and use a seed treatment as a magic bullet. They will help soybeans fend off phytophthora and other problems but won’t make plants immune to chronic situations.
“Soybeans on soybeans on soybeans will make that problem worse,” said Lange, noting the upsurge in Manitoba soybean acreage that has pushed production to more than one million acres.
Lange said he knows about farmers who had pushed their rotations and thought they could buy themselves safety by using a seed treatment, which they hadn’t previously done.
It didn’t work out.
“They were surprised because it was the first year they treated and the first year they saw phytophthora root rot show up,” said Lange.
Nothing replaces basic agronomic discipline, he added.