If you have soybeans planted and they are up, what do they look like? If you haven't scouted recently to determine stand, possible weed pressure and presence of insects or signs of insect damage, this might be a good time to do so.
One of the things you may find on soybeans at this time in the season is feeding by bean leaf beetles. The first generation is active now. There will be a second generation later on. How severe each generation becomes depends on a variety of factors, including weather conditions.
On the soybean plants pictured here, you can see a slight bit of feeding damage on one of the plants in the lower right. Otherwise they are free of damage and healthy. The photosynthetic factory is at work.
Steve Gauck, an area rep with Beck's Hybrids in southern Indiana passed along these pictures, taken by Tim Sarver. The photo shown here with the healthy seedlings were a Beck's variety in a plot. The plants with obvious damage shown in another of today's local stories were a competitor's variety that had not been treated as seed with any treatment. The plants were side by side in a plot.
The point isn't that one company's bean variety is better than the others – it's that seed treatments work and can protect plants against pests. Naturally, whether or not the treatment will provide protection against a specific pest, like bean leaf beetle, depends upon the ingredients in the treatment.
Seed treatment is a broad term. At one time farmers thought they were treating seed if they coated it with rhizobium bacteria as an inoculant. The next phase was products that typically guarded against early-season diseases. Then came treatments that contained the ingredients that protect against diseases, but that also protect against insect pests. Some of the treatments also contain proprietary additives.
The healthy seedlings germinated form seeds treated with Escalate, Beck's premium soybean seed inoculant. It contains an insecticide. Other companies also produce seed treatments that contain insecticides.
The point is simply that sometimes you can visibly see the benefits of seed treatment. You won't know if you don't inspect your fields, and have side-by-side comparisons.