Seed World

Soybean Farmers — One of Your Biggest Needs has Been Met

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The lives of soybean farmers are a lot easier now that there’s a new tool in the fight against phytophthora.

Until recently, soybean growers had metalaxyl to fall back on if phytophthora made an appearance in the field. But like many chemistries of yesterday, metalaxyl had its problems and as far as phytophthora goes even at its high rate it only provided suppression at best.

With Corteva Agriscience’s new seed treatment Lumisena™ on the market, growers no longer have to rely on older, less effective chemistry to tackle phytophthora. This fungicide seed treatment was developed to control phytophthora and in turn minimize soybean yield loss.

“Phytophthora is a disease you can’t predict, although it is more predominant on poorly drained soils, which exist in many parts of southwestern Ontario. It’s something we deal with every year, some years more than others but primarily on our heavy-textured clay soils,” says John Seliga, area agronomist for Pioneer based in Dorchester, Ont.

In Ontario, it’s those heavy clay soils that tend to create challenges for the soybean crop from emergence right through to seed fill.  Root rot can be a real hindrance to stand establishment, especially when conditions are wet. If we do experience excess moisture and rain after we plant our soybeans, we can anticipate some level of phytophthora pressure.

“I’m quite excited about the opportunity to have Lumisena™ in the lineup. In hundreds of wide-scale trials conducted across North America, including many in Eastern Canada, Lumisena showed more than a one bushel per acre yield advantage on the broad acre and a four bushel advantage when phytophthora levels were high. Those yield results are exciting.”  All Pioneer® and Brevant™ brand soybean varieties offered in Eastern Canada will be treated with Lumisena™ fungicide seed treatment for the 2019 planting season.

It is a number of factors that make Lumisena™ the new standard in phytophthora control:

Plants protected by Lumisena™ have larger biomass. According to Lorne Thoen, product manager for Corteva Agriscience, it’s not that Lumisena directly causes larger biomass, it simply protects the root from disease and the larger biomass is a result of that.

“Plants make decisions every day based on their environment after seeding. ‘Do I have enough moisture and root mass to put on more leaves or pods, or can I grow bigger or faster?’ A plant makes these decisions based on how accommodating its environment is, just like any living thing, plants perform better under ideal conditions when stress from disease or environment is minimized. Lumisena™ makes the surrounding soil environment safer for the plant, therefore it functions better.”

It helps growers manage risk. Forty days after planting, soybean plants treated with Lumisena™ had healthier root development and reduced phytophthora infection versus plants treated with the high rate of metalaxyl, Thoen notes. “Every time a farmer uses an input, what they’re doing is managing risk. Their goal is to take the great choice of genetics they put in the ground and protect them so they deliver to their greatest potential. Lumisena™ helps do that.”

Lumisena’s active ingredient boosts plant stands, vigour and yield. In multi-year, on-farm seed treatment research trials under phytophthora pressure, Lumisena™ improved plant stands by increasing the number of plants per acre versus the existing industry-standard seed treatment.  This resulted in improved yields.

Thoen adds: “Seed treatments are easy for growers to use, especially on soybeans where seed is pre-treated by the seed company or local seed seller. Seed treatments have come a long way from 25 years ago. Modern ones add a lot of value for farmers.”

“Lumisena™ treated seed showed improved root growth throughout the season on my farm. Better early root growth gives me a much better chance at higher yields,” says Ontario-based grower Tim Williams. Also, the better phytophthora protection from Lumisena™ is a great asset on our heavy clay soil.”

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