University of Wisconsin research shows that using seed treatments on soybeans offers a fairly high probability of payback, especially when soybean prices are at least $9/bu. and/or average yields are in the mid to high range. In trials conducted from 2008 to 2010 at nine locations around Wisconsin, researchers evaluated ApronMaxx and CruiserMaxx seed treatments, taking into consideration soybean prices and yield potential environments, include 40-, 60- and 80-bu./acre scenarios. The probability of payback is significantly higher in high-yield environments and obviously increases with higher grain prices.

“At $6/bu. soybeans and a 40-bu./acre environment, there was a 42% probability that ApronMaxx covered the cost of application and 43% for CruiserMaxx,” says Shawn Conley, state soybean and small grain Extension specialist. “By increasing yields to 60 bu./acre, the probability of payback increases to 72% and 56%, respectively. “If you extend our table out to include soybean values closer to – say $16/bu. – the probability of hitting breakeven for soybean seed treatments would hit 100% in all categories,” he says.

The next steps in his research are to compare the performance of active ingredients in seed treatments, and to look at yield variability based on management changes such as planting populations. “I’m comparing populations ranging from 140,000 seeds/acre all the way down to 40,000, to better define yield variability and grower risk at low populations with seed treatments.

Many growers think of seed treatments as insurance, but I want to focus on the probability that they will make money for growers in the season ahead,” he says.