Should you use a neonicotinoid seed treatment in soybean? If you no-till in a northern state, the answer is probably no — and if you do, the effects may be more harmful than beneficial, says a research paper jointly published by universities in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
According to the paper, “The Effectiveness of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments in Soybean,” neonicotinoid seed treatments only provide a maximum of 3 weeks protection after planting. However, they can be useful for managing early-season pests in targeted, high-risk situations, such as:
- Fields transitioning from pasture, Conservation Reserve Program land or grassland to soybean production, as they tend to have higher populations of long-lived soil pests that can’t be controlled with foliar insecticides.
- Fields with recently incorporated animal manure, green cover crops or weeds, as seedcorn maggot females lay eggs in rotting organic material.
- Double-cropped soybeans or specialty (food-grade or seed) soybeans. In double-cropped soybeans, soybean aphids may migrate from mature soybean plants to colonize later-planted plants. In food-grade or seed soybean, early-season pests may carry diseases that affect crop quality.