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Moving to soybeans

By David G. Hallauer
Meadowlark District Extension agent, crops and soils/horticulture

I know there's a lot of corn to plant, and soybeans may be a ways from your mind, but during this wet period, give another thought to soybean seed treatments.

A 10-year estimate puts yield loss to seed rots and seedling blights at 3.1 percent annually. Only charcoal rot (5.4 percent annually) ranks higher as a yield robber. And even with the emphasis put on soybean cyst nematode over the past decade, seedling disease yield losses are about double that from SCN. Factor in the recent stretch of weather events and all of a sudden a seed treatment might just be a good option.

Research supports this as well, with Kansas State University data indicating a significant benefit to seed treatment usage when soybeans are planted before May 15 and up through the end of May if planting no-till. According to six years of data compiled by KSU Plant Pathologist Dr. Doug Jardine, treated seed outyielded non-treated seed by 2.5 bushels per acre. If the average cost of a fungicide seed treatment is $4 per acre, the return in investment is pretty good.

For our purposes, use combination materials for broad control. Use metalaxyl or mefanoxam products for Pythium or Phytophthora and a second product containing azoxystrobin, carboxin, fludioxonil or trifloxystrobin for control of Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and other seedborne diseases. Most research indicates that as long as you are using a combination of active ingredients from the two categories listed above, there will be relatively little difference in performance.

My garden is under (pick one) water/mud/debris.

This wet weather is something else. I was by a garden the other day that had another inch of soil added to it from a field up the hill in the form of a nice layer of muddy silt. Kind of hard for onions to withstand that.

Remember, too, that mud or debris isn't the only problem from all this rain. For flooded or saturated garden areas, water may have forced out oxygen that plants need to survive. And while some plants can survive saturation, most vegetables cannot.

The big question becomes: How long was my garden under water or significantly saturated? The longer that time frame, the greater the damage potential. As long as water drains away within 24 hours, the impact on plant health is minimal.

If soils have become compacted or crusted, you may be limiting oxygen this way as well. You might consider lightly scraping the soil to break the crust for better root development. Just be careful not to till too deeply so shallow roots are not damaged.

Produce from a flooded garden should be okay as long as aboveground portions of the plant remain healthy. If the plants have yellowed, or have come in contact with runoff from any sewage or manure source, produce should not be used.

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