For most growers, $16/bu. soybeans have made seed treatment use a no-brainer. These coatings are early-season crop insurance, protecting seeds and improving emergence. But even before soybean prices hit recent highs, more farmers have recognized the value.

This past spring, 90% of the bulk seed that Genesis Cooperative sold went through their seed treater, says seed manager Jeff Hagen. That compares with only about 10% back in 2003, when the Le Center, Minn., cooperative first bought its mobile seed treater. “Many growers have seen they get better emergence and a better stand with seed treatments on soybeans,” he says. “Their use has now become a given for many growers.”

The cooperative offers either a CruiserMaxx Beans package (fungicide and insecticide) for about $10 per unit or ApronMaxx fungicide seed treatment for around $3 per unit. “The benefits of CruiserMaxx not only include the early-season disease control but also suppression of soybean aphids for quite a ways into the growing season. With it, we typically make only one foliar insecticide application for aphid control, usually in August, instead of two applications when CruiserMaxx isn’t used.

“In 2012, with the extremely dry conditions in mid-season, there wasn’t as much of an aphid problem, and we treated just 300 acres of soybeans,” he observes. “Last year we sprayed closer to 30,000 acres for aphids.”