Shawn P. Conley, Soybean and Wheat Extension Specialist
Earlier soybean planting coupled with increasing seed costs and higher commodity prices have led to a surge in the number of acres planted with seed treatments (Esker and Conley, 2012). Furthermore, the components and relative cost of various soybean seed treatments has broadened greatly. Recent studies have suggested that growers should consider lowering seeding rates to increase their return on investment.
Seed applied fungicides and insecticides have become a common component in modern soybean production for their broad spectrum of activity and the implementation of earlier planting dates. Recent studies have shown farmers can maximize their economic return on investment by lowering seeding rates alone (De Bruin and Pedersen, 2008; Epler and Staggenborg, 2008) or in conjunction with a fungicide + insecticide seed treatment (Gaspar et al., 2015). However, it is unknown if a target specific seed treatment, like ILeVO (fluopyram, Bayer CropScience AG), can be profitable when added to these seed treatment packages, especially when farmers make seed treatment choices during the winter when upcoming diseases and/or insect problems are unclear.