While many farmers and climatologists are comparing this spring to spring 2008, Wright says more farmers are using seed-applied fungicides this time, which may help reduce root infection by soil-borne pathogens. However, seed-applied fungicides will not reduce the negative impact of soil compaction in the seed zone.

“2011 will be a good test of performance of fungicide seed treatments,” Wright says.

Licht agrees, “This year a fungicidal seed treatment may be one of the more profitable input costs due to the risk of soil-borne pathogens.”

“Good weed management will continue to be critical, especially in later-planted fields,” Wright says. “Farmers should get a good pre-emergent herbicide down if they can.”

However, if farmers are unable to put down a pre-emergent herbicide and relying on post-emergent herbicide, Wright says it’s important to apply in a timely fashion to reduce weed competition.

“Weeds are constant competitors for the water and nutrients soybeans need for fast growth and development,” he says. “Iowa is predicted to plant 9.4 million acres in 2011, with the capacity to plant a million acres a day. Farmers should consider first the best soil conditions to get their crop off to a good start. Patience will pay off.”