Seed treatments anchor health of plant roots

Ray Mueller


Jeff Laufenberg reminds growers of soybeans that seed treatment is an important practice for promoting plant health.

In tune with the year's theme of “From the Ground Up” at the annual Fond du Lac County agronomy day at Montsma Farms, Syngenta Crop Protection technical services representative Jeff Laufenberg focused on the role of roots in plant health in his presentation at the event.

The root system can deter problems caused by pests and diseases, Laufenberg stated. Providing that protection starts with the appropriation protection or treatment of seeds because “everything wants a piece of the action,” he remarked.

On that point, “not all seed treatments are equal,” Laufenberg warned. “Be aware of what you get. Ask. Be fussy and cautious. Don't always go with the cheapest.”

Soybeans in 2016

When it comes to white mold in soybeans, which is a problem in some fields in 2016, there is no seed treatment or any other single management practice which can control it completely, Laufenberg acknowledged. “But we want to make it less bad.”

One way to address the threat of white mold is to limit plant populations to 100,000 per acre in fields where moisture supply is seldom a problem and to 145,000 on hilly locations, Laufenberg advised. He promised that in most cases an appropriate seed treatment will stabilize populations close to the goals that the grower has.

Another way to limit the threat of white mold is to minimize tillage because the sclerotia, which lead to the infection of soybean flowers can remain alive in the soil for up to seven years, Laufenberg pointed out. Regarding the while mold outbreaks in 2016, Laufenberg holds out a hope “that it could look worse than it is.”

Observations on corn

In what was generally close to an ideal year for growing corn in Wisconsin, Laufenberg reported that a few grower concerns have cropped up nonetheless. One is that many corn ears have a bare nose or tip, he noted.

But that is to be expected, given that many ears set an above average total of 18 to 22 rows of kernels and that many had a maximum length development, Laufenberg stated. Growers should be satisfied with 450 to 600 kernels per ear of corn, he concluded.