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In the year-end rush to buy soybean seed, keep key factors in mind

Agriculture.com Staff 12/19/2007 @ 2:07pm

If you are rushing to place your seed order before the end of the year, but are still puzzling over the wide variety of options available, here are a few tips to guide you in choosing the best soybean seed for next year's bumper crop.

The first step in maximizing profit per acre is choosing the varieties for your farm that will increase your overall productivity, according to an Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) report. Start by looking to university research trials and others that can offer a glimpse into recent production history under different growing conditions.

"To minimize risk when selecting a variety it is important to get yield data from replicated trials and from numerous locations," according to Palle Pedersen, Iowa State University Extension agronomist. "That will help identify a stable, high yielding variety."

In addition, it's important to factor in the disease pressures you may be facing with next year's crop.

"Growers must develop a portfolio of high yielding soybean varieties that address the pathogens in their fields."ISA research director David Wright. "A high percentage of those varieties should have defensive traits such as resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and sudden death syndrome (SDS). It's important to match the agronomics of soybean varieties with the challenges you face on your farm."

A recent survey conducted by Iowa State University found that more than 70% of Iowa fields tested positive for soybean cyst nematode, the nation's largest yield-robber. Sudden death syndrome isn't quite as severe, but it is catching up quickly.

Wright suggests that in Iowa, the top four traits to look for when selecting soybean seed are:

  1. High yield potential
  2. Yield stability across environments
  3. Effective resistance to SCN
  4. Field tolerance to sudden death syndrome

Wright recommends that growers strongly consider insecticide seed treatment when planting early to control bean leaf beetle. The surest way to find out how soybean varieties will yield on your farm, he says, is to give them a test run.

"Test your top five choices on your farm in strip or small field trials," he says. "It's important to remember that effective performance against diseases like SCN, sudden death syndrome, frogeye leaf spot and brown stem rot vary from variety to variety. These diseases, when left uncontrolled, typically rob producers of five to 10 bushels per acre. On-farm testing is the surest way to evaluate varieties against these diseases."

If you are rushing to place your seed order before the end of the year, but are still puzzling over the wide variety of options available, here are a few tips to guide you in choosing the best soybean seed for next year's bumper crop.

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