Selecting soybean seed for 2020 is a complex decision, and there are more trait technologies available than ever. After a season beset by untimely rainfall and planting delays, farmers are focusing on more maturity options, disease tolerance, and weed control convenience with their next crop.
“With a lot of wet conditions this year, farmers are looking for varieties with good tolerance to diseases like frogeye leaf spot and Phytophthora,” said Andy Robinson, Indiana agronomist for Mycogen Seeds.
Other diseases — such as iron deficiency chlorosis, white mold, and sudden death syndrome — are contributing factors in seed selection for upper Midwest farmers, said Doug Becher, Minnesota agronomist for Mycogen Seeds.
Here are three tips to help farmers choose soybean trait technology that fits their unique needs:
Evaluate past performance
While this year’s conditions are foremost in your mind, it’s important to take a longer view because no two seasons are alike. Assess yield data from this fall and past seasons to see how different varieties perform in your area. Even after a season with challenging weather conditions, you should become familiar with top performers in your area.
“Weather is always an unpredictable variable,” Robinson said. “Yield is usually the No. 1 factor in mind when selecting varieties, but standability is a close second. Especially late in the season, you want to protect your soybeans as much as possible from changing weather patterns.
Research each trait platform
Read the labels and consult with trusted advisers about what each technology offers, including which herbicides to pair and state restrictions. Then look at the variety agronomics. Document common weeds and diseases on your farm and share it with your retailer or seed specialist so you can work together on a plan that matches your needs.
“New technology is driven by the need for better weed control,” Becher said. “We must use multiple layers of chemistries, including residual herbicides and multiple modes of action. Otherwise, we’ll continue to face more resistant weeds.”
Understand restrictions and tolerances
After harvest, reflect on specific weed challenges from recent seasons and use that information to choose traits with your desired herbicide and disease tolerances. Additionally, watch for cross-tolerances with new technology. Mycogen’s Enlist E3 soybeans are tolerant to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate, and the LibertyLink trait is also tolerant to over-the-top applications of glufosinate. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend technology offers tolerance to glyphosate and dicamba.
Farmers who want to use new soybean traits in 2020 should talk to their local retailers now instead of waiting until February. If you choose Mycogen, there are more than 60 new Mycogen brand soybean varieties to choose from, and these varieties are available with every major herbicide trait technology.