Seed has its greatest genetic potential for yield the moment it arrives on a grower's farm. Brad Van Kooten, Pioneer seed treatment category leader at Corteva Agriscience, explains the role of the seed treatment is to help protect and optimize that genetic potential — and that's especially important for those growers pushing for higher yields by planting earlier.
Recently, Corteva launched a new addition to its seed protection profile, Lumiderm, which will be commercially available in 2022. Lumiderm, which is in the LumiGen family of seed treatment products, is a novel Group 28 insecticide seed treatment for soybeans.
Van Kooten explains there are two ways Lumiderm helps protect the plant's yield potential. First, it improves seedling vigor, helping it get off to a strong start in the early growth of the soybean plant. Second, as an insecticide, it helps control insects — adding cutworms, white grubs, thrips and wireworms to the spectrum of control compared to the Pioneer brand's prior standard, Gaucho.
"The really neat thing about Lumiderm is, it helps us control twice as many insects as our prior standard," he says. "It also enhances control on the insects that our prior standard, Gaucho, works well on. So we get much stronger insect protection with the addition of Lumiderm."
Van Kooten explains that growers planting early who strive for high soybean yields will benefit from the protection and added vigor of Lumiderm.
"We know early planting helps soybean yields. So if I can go out and my farmer can have more confidence planting that seed early, because they know it's really well-protected, they're going to have much more confidence going out and planting early, and taking advantage of that full growing season and maximizing the genetic potential that's in that seed," he says. "We get higher yields from early planting, but we also see a 1- to 2-bushel yield increase just by adding Lumiderm."
Cover crop users benefit, too
However, Lumiderm will also benefit soybean growers who use cover crops.
"Cover crops are great; we're extremely supportive of cover crops at Corteva and the Pioneer brand. But we know one challenge can be that you have more insect pressure," Van Kooten says. "As that residue is breaking down, insects, particularly insects like seedcorn maggot flies, are attracted to that residue that's breaking down. Lumiderm gives that grower additional protection when they're planting following cover crops."
Van Kooten says trials conducted by Corteva the last several years have shown treatments with Lumiderm had an 8% reduction in plant-stand gaps, thanks to the improved plant vigor and protection from the Lumiderm seed treatment. He notes using Lumiderm, a Group 28 diamide, in combination with Gaucho, a Group 4A neonicotinoid, provides additional protection against bean leaf beetles, seedcorn maggots and aphids.
This year, Van Kooten says there are about 150 field trials with growers using 40 to 50 acres of Lumiderm-treated seed compared side-by-side with nontreated seed.
"We see that vigor effect, and we see better insect protection," he says. "If we think about which customers will be most interested in [Lumiderm], it's that early-planting, high-yield customer where they could take advantage of the 1- to 2-bushel advantage we see with Lumiderm, and the improvement in stand establishment. Secondly, it's the cover crop grower. We hope that cover crops continue to increase in acreage in the coming years. We think it's a great practice. This will be a tool that helps those customers reach full yield potential."