While weed and pest management remains a priority for growers across the country, the latest and most comprehensive crop protection technologies are not cheap to purchase or implement, and many growers have begun to question whether or not it’s going to be possible to see returns on the costs associated with seed treatments, especially with prices remaining so low.
Shawn Conley, State Soybean and Small Grains Specialist from my home state of Wisconsin, spoke during the Bayer #AgVocacy Forum on the many reasons why crop protection is an investment worth spending and what growers could stand to lose financially without a strong investment in weed management.
“Even at eight dollar beans we’re seeing a seventy percent probability of return on investment (ROI) from utilizing seed treatments,” he said in an interview during the Forum. “It’s an opportunity for growers to possibly cut back on their seeding rate, save some dollars there, and re-invest those in seed treatments and multiple modes of action to deal with the glyphosate resistant weed problem we have in Wisconsin.” Interview with Shawn Conley, University of Wisconsin
Along with investing in high-quality pre-emergence herbicides, Conley also encourages growers to invest in high-yielding genetics, which could offer a 20 bushel swing over low-yielding genetics, advises against cutting back on potassium, and believes growers need to start thinking about pushing for earlier planting dates this year.
“Earlier planting allows you to decrease how much seed you put out there, and we’ve also been seeing roughly 0.2 to 0.4 bushels per acre yield loss for every day planting goes past May 1st, regardless of location,” he said. “After 10 days, that’s a yield loss of 4 bushels.”