Soybean seed treatments do not cause nodulation problems
By David G. Hallauer
Meadowlark District Extension Agent
It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while, we'll get a call to look at soybeans exhibiting poor nodulation, despite proper inoculation before planting by the producer. One of the questions asked is whether or not the seed treatment is to blame.
Seed treatments are a recommended best management practice, particularly when planting early or in fields with a history of disease pressure. Numerous trials indicate their benefit. Likewise, if a field doesn't have a recent history of soybeans, inoculant is a necessity. Since they are in direct seed contact with each other, we're always curious as to their interaction.
To answer, seven experiments were conducted at five locations over the past two years under varying soybean histories and using various seed treatment/inoculant combinations. All of the treatments used are stated to have compatibility with seed applied inoculant products. What they found was that seed treatments in these tests had no significant negative effects on the survival and effectiveness of bacterial inoculant when in direct contact on the seed. There was no significant difference in nodulation, plant dry matter, or yield between any of the treatments. Nodulation performance was analyzed over all seed treatments. Performance did vary between locations, but within the location there was no impact of seed treatment on nodulation performance. Bottom line: seed treatments are not associated with nodulation problems that have been observed in some areas--you can rest easy.
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