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Soybean Seed Supply Should Be 'OK'

Soybean Seed Supply Should Be 'OK'
Quality issues may mean good year for treatment.

Alan Galbraith likes to talk about soybean and corn seed quality. That's been his entire career- working with seed quality through the Indiana Crop Improvement Association. Today, he's assistant manager of the facility located near Stockwell in Tippecanoe County. This isn't a year to get excited about in terms of soybean seed quality, butin the end, supplies will probably be OK, he notes.

"The weather caused issue for seed producers just like ti did for everyone else," eh says. "Soybean seed that was harvested early had excellent quality and we were seeing large seed size. Then after it rained in October, when harvest resumed, quality had deteriorated quite a bit."

One problem affecting germination scores on samples he's seen from Indiana growers is the influence of disease, particularly pod and stem blight. "It's fairly normal to expect to see it in this kind of year," he says.

What's a bit unusual is how well most samples are responding to soybean seed treatments, Galbraith notes. Typically, treatments will improve germination scores to some degree. This year, they tend to be taking scores to much higher levels than usual.

"Our average germination score for untreated, uncleaned seed is about 83% so far," he says. "That's definitely on the low side. But treated sample go up into the mid-90's. It's a big difference."

Jim Herr, in charge of seed processing for Beck's Hybrids, Atlanta, says they routinely treat all of their soybeans seed with the state-of-the-art seed treatment. It's company policy, and it's definitely paying off this year. He says what he's putting in the big as far as soybean seed is as good or better than anything he's bagged in the past.

One factor of the unusual fall actually turned out to be a plus from a seed processing standpoint, he adds. During the past two warm, dry falls, beans often came into the seed plant at 9% to 10% from farmer's bins. At that moisture level, there are more cracks and splits, he notes. With higher moisture levels this year, the amount of cracks and splits was lower.

Galbraith says that while its' true seed germination on untreated seed may actually rise between now and planting time, he would rely on that phenomenon turning bad seed into good seed. "Pod and stem blight tends to die off over time," he notes. "Germination percentage may go up a few percent by spring. But for samples coming in with really low scores, it's not going to be enough of a factor to make those samples acceptable."

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