Seed Treatment with Jon Zuk and Jason Nelson

Mar 13, 2019

Seed Treatment with Jon Zuk and Jason Nelson
Stefanie W:  Welcome to another episode of Planting Profits with Jesse Wiant. Today we have Jason Nelson and Jon Zuk.

Jesse Wiant:   Thanks Stef! Like Stef said we've got Jason Nelson today as well as Jon Zuk with us. We just wrapped up a meeting on some dicamba training and then Jon did a spray clinic for us here in Winthrop. So we decided as long as we're here, we're going to talk about some soybean seed treatments. Number one question that I had from last year is why are our beans sticky? When we look at beans coming out of the bin in say April or May, typically the bean temperature is cooler than the outside air temperature. Which obviously when you get that, you get the moisture setting in. Then another thing that we look at is what are we putting on for a seed treatment versus maybe somebody else down the road, right? So that's part of the reason why we've got these two guys here today to talk a little bit about that. So Jason I'm gonna kick this question to you, since we went through this together last spring. Beans were sticky. It didn't matter the brand of the bean, right? If they were in bulk treated by our treaters, whether that's in Hamburg or Lafayette, they came out sticky. Like I say, temperature was probably the biggest thing. What else do you see in your travels that could be affecting that?

Jason Nelson:  So, that's great question.. My number one question I got last spring was sticky beans. Couple of problems, you hit on it first cold beans, right? So think about in southern Minnesota, the bulk tanks in Hamburg and Lafayette were filled probably November or December of 2017. So they came from the plant and November, December they were filled. So think about that winter we had last year and think about how long it was. It went from November to middle of April when we had the snow. Usually we'll go into March and we'll have a gradual thaw right? We'll hit some 40, 50 degree days, get cool at night, but get sunny and warm up, but we never warmed up in March. A lot of times what happens is we get those cold beans to come out of the bin and those beans come out. Usually we start planting on a day when we start planting beans what late April, you guys, late April to early May? So think about our weather during planting?

Jon Zuk:  We should start planting, but for the last few years it's actually been later because we haven't ...

Jason Nelson: Exactly. So nine times out of 10 if I get sticky bean complaint it's usually from a bean that's cold and if I go and rub my hands through the box or through the tender, the bean is very cold to the touch. It also happens to be a humid day. So for whatever reason it seems like we have these problems, they all come to on that day that it's all of a sudden warmed up to 85 degrees and maybe we have a storm coming in within the next 24 to 36 hours. So the humidity has been built up or maybe we had a storm come through or some rain and now all of a sudden guys are catching up and getting their beans treated for the next couple of days and getting them in boxes or a tender and all of a sudden you have a lot of moisture in the air and when we have a lot more humidity. And like you said Jesse, when you have cold beans and you expose them to 85 degree air temps with humidity, we have a lot of sticky beans. So think about southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, Wisconsin. It kind of seems to be the nexus of the universe for this problem as far as cold beans and hot humid days in April, May and in a previous life when I dealt with growers in like Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, they had certainly the humidity, but they didn't have the cold beans like we do and they didn't have near as many problems. So that's probably the first thing we discuss about why this happened. The most important thing is to talk about what we do to make sure it doesn't happen again or what steps can we prevent it. So the first thing is in Hamburg, which is a relatively new site, we identified a couple of things to do for next year. Primarily what we're going to do is turn that fan on earlier. So on the bulk bins in Hamburg have fans you could turn on and pump in warm air and gradually warm those beans up before we start treating beans. So that's the first thing. Something else that we're doing now, we use a product, a seed polymer, in conjunction with Warden® CX and Optimize® at both Hamburg and Lafayette and what that polymer does, it does two things. So it's a polymer, so it actually helps the seed treatment adhere to the seed, it actually keeps it on the seed. Right. The other thing is it acts as a lubricant, so it makes the bean stickier and flow better. And I think once we started using that polymer, What probably that first week of treating beans, Jesse, we noticed a big difference as far as seed flow. Right?

Jesse Wiant: Yeah. So I would say seed flow, but also the evenness the so the treatment itself. I guess Jason, maybe you can allude to that or even Jon that the product that we were using was cooler as well and I don't think we were getting quite an even coat over everything. Once we added that polymer, it seemed to spread everything better. Like you said, Jason coming out of the drum they were so much dryer than before.

Jon Zuk:  So I think a lot of that, I mean polymer has a big play, but when I go back to looking at the polymer, polymer does help get it spread out and just like we know what the adjuvants, if you get that seed treatment spread out across the seed, it's probably going to be more apt to dry better and you're not going to have thick and thin spots that might be uneven as far as the coat. That just makes sense as far as dry, especially when it's going through the drum. And the other thing is, not to discredit any of the seed treatment or the polymer or the process, but a week later things have probably warmed up a little bit more. And when I go back to the old seed about treating days, it's the first day that's hot, the cement floor is wet because everything sweaty and then on top of that you're putting liquid on your soybeans to treat them and then you're planting them. They're going right to the field. Most of the time when we have a little bit more relaxed spring, we have time to get a little bit ahead with a seed treater. So maybe the beans sit in a box for a little bit and then they get transferred one more time and that one more touch normally takes care of it too. And that's where using that polymer coating definitely comes in and helps that aspect of things out.

Jason Nelson: Yep. Absolutely. The other thing that to change for 2019 that grower should consider is using a graphite talc mix. A lot of times when we ran into complaints, growers that were just strictly using a talc in their planter. One thing I'd suggest is make sure you look at what that planter manufacturer recommends. I know at UFC you guys use a lot of that precision, the e-flow. So think about talc and graphite often we use them in the same sentence, but they're totally different products, right? I mean, what's a talc used for Jon?

Jon Zuk:  Talc is normally drying agent.

Jason Nelson:  It's a drying agent. A lot of times what happens is when guys have sticky beans they think, well, I need to use more talc and more talc actually makes things worse. So the more talc you add, the worse it gets. When guys switched to that 80-20 mix or the e-flow, I see a lot of those problems get corrected. So that's the one thing that a grower can do is make sure to be using the right talc graphite for that planter recommendation.

Jesse Wiant: So how about last year's bean size? I mean they were huge right?

Jon Zuk: You know what they say big beans equals?

Jesse Wiant:  Fill us in, fill us in

Jon Zuk: Well, so I think big beans equals maybe some trouble with planter plates that you don't always realize and maybe you don't compensate for and that's not something we're used to dealing with. Especially when it's not just one variety of large sized beans with every variety has large size beans. So that probably compound a lot of things last year that maybe would have gone through just fine.

Jason Nelson:  Yep, absolutely. And the nice thing for this year is seed size seems to be coming in 10 to 15% smaller. So last year we had a lot of 21-2200 seeds per pound beans and now we're 25-2600 seeds per pound beans. So the higher the number, the more seeds per pound actually smaller beans. So I think just from that aspect of seed size issue, hopefully we'll have less issues in 2019 than we had last year.

Jon Zuk: I think the last thing to add on this is the a low that if you're treating with Warden® CX, we know that it's a higher use rate because we know we have more oil based fungicides in that. And that's the whole reason for using Warden® CX is we want to have the premiere seed treatment so we have as much fungicide on that seed as possible. That gives us the length of control with phytophthora. But oils don't dry as quickly as dumping some water based seed treatment or a lower use rate seed treatment on there. So again, going back to using the polymer coating and using another fan when we're using some of these more premiere, more value-added seed treatments definitely help us out with a higher fungicide load.

Jesse Wiant:  So would it be better to just say you're getting your beans treated in the box, would it be better to do that maybe a day or two in advance versus doing it an hour before you're planting? Is that what you're getting at?

Jon Zuk:  Well so I think that would be great, but we know how quickly spring has sprung in a lot of cases and I don't know if that logistically is achievable, especially my beans are flying out the door faster than this treater can catch up. So yeah, if you could treat the beans and let them set, or even if say a grower could have the beans treated and give you a few hours to let them set before they enter into the planter, maybe they might stick up in the seed tender, but it's way easier to break them up once they've actually dried and sat in there then to try to throw them into the planner right away and then that's where we run into issues of plantability and you certainly don't want to go that way.

Jason Nelson:  Actually Jesse, the thing to watch out is if you do treat them and put them in a box and let them sit for a day or two. You could have the same thing that happens in a bin, right? You get these beans that are cold and they'll heat up and they'll cool down in the box and it's almost like a mini humidor in there and you could actually get them to set up in the box.

Jon Zuk:  They'll bridge

Jason Nelson:  Yeah, they'll bridge really bad. So I would say if you're going to treat them, keep the cover off of them and Jon hit it - movement. So move them once, maybe twice, just even jumping them box to box or box to tender really can alleviate some of that sticky bean issues.

Jon Zuk:  And it might only be, it's not like we've got to let them sit for a day, 30 minutes, 20 minutes, and another move is just that much more value. I've even setting the box without the lid outside and out of the warehouse sometimes just if the sun hits the top of that really quick. And again, we're putting inoculants on there and we want to limit that exposure. But just getting that little bit of touch and a little bit of air movement really does a lot for keeping those beans from get sticky. So are we over the cold, wet, sticky beans? Let's just, it's going to happen. It's going to be an awesome spring. An early awesome spring where we won't have to deal with sticky beans.

Jesse Wiant:  We've got a lot of snow to melt now Jon.

Jon Zuk: Well the sun is really powerful. I think we gained what ,last week, we gained 16 minutes in daylight one week. If you can't be happy about anything, that's probably one thing we can be happy about. So I mean I think we can get over the sticky beans and those are all things we can work around, but it's just a matter of understanding why. And how and then fixing it.

Jesse Wiant: So let's dive into the meat of Warden® CX, right? I mean that's our go-to soybean seed treatment here at UFC. I guess Jon give us a little bit of reasoning of why we're using Warden® CX versus maybe a different seed treatment that's out there in the market.

Jon Zuk:  I think the two biggest things with using Warden® CX are number one, we increased plants per acre and so that's a pretty big thing. And then number two we look at the longevity of having Warden® CX control phytophera later into the season. And by seeing so much of that Phytophthora, I know how important that can be especially with our climate and being a little bit more prone to staying warm and wet later in the season.

Jesse Wiant: So don't all soybean seed companies give a field tolerance rating or a phytopthora rating? I mean why is the seed treatment so much more beneficial beyond that?

Jason Nelson:  So keep in mind there's two things. There's a field tolerance and a genetic resistance. Now they kind of both achieve the same thing, but it's like a hammer and a crowbar. 80% of the time, the job, either one could work, but they're very much different things, right? So it's important to note, field tolerance versus resistance. And there are some specific varieties that have very poor resistance to phytophthora. One thing you hit on Jon was you talked a lot about phytophthora and get to V2 - V3 for that genetic resistance. I think about a common variety, in this case it's NK's S16-F1L it's a liberty link variety. If you look at Renville, Sibley, Nicolet County, it is the most widely planted liberty link variety. That bean has got a horrible phytophthora score. So if you plant that bean in 2019, which there's a bulk tank of it in Lafayette, so there's a number of growers listening to this podcast are going to plant it. You need to use Warden® CXC treatment. That's one where our average answer plot yield as three to four bushels with Warden® CX. I've very rarely seen in about five. That's a 10 bushel response. We had growers that had a 10 bushel response, untreated versus treated. So it's really important to look at what the variety is, what the phytophthora score is, because you could have some freak swings in response.

Jesse Wiant: What about the insecticide component? Generally in soybeans when we think of insect pressure or having potential damage, it's always an aphid timing, right? So we are R1-R2-R3 somewhere in that time. So why, I guess, why is that insecticide component needed or what value is there at planting or as a seed treatment?

Jon Zuk:  So I guess I think the most controversial thing with the seed treatment is the insecticide. That's the most controversy. It's really, I don't think we really ever argue the fungicide. We spend the most time talking about it for whatever reason, just because diseases are cool. But the insecticides, I mean that's probably the most controversial. And here's the way I split it up in my mind. No matter how good you are at controlling the insects, beans suck themselves to have any defense. And if they do have any natural defense to insects, it comes to a cost of yield. So we know that. So maybe we don't know the insect. Maybe we can't always identify the insect, but we know if we don't have the protection, beans are terrible at defending them off themselves. And even if you are really good at spraying your aphids, we're just not that good. There's a lot of data out there that does support early aphid control. And I think that the cruiser portion of Warden® CX definitely gives us the ability to have that earlier aphid control, and hopefully come back and nab him when we get the bulk of the population. The other thing, just from an agronomic, a nutritional perspective, is we get the vigor effect from the cruiser and that cannot be overlooked. And the reason I say agronomic is because bean roots are terrible at taking up nutrients. They're terrible at finding pathways in the ground. They're really weak as far as penetrating through different areas. So the more vigorous we can grow those roots in my mind, the more better off we can get access to nutrients and water, which is late season needs for what we have to support some of these bean yields were pulling off. So that's my two real big talking points for the insecticide, is we never know what's coming and we need as big, as baddest roots as we can possibly get on soybeans.

Jesse Wiant: So where's the vigor component coming from?

Jon Zuk: So a lot of the literature does state that part of the active ingredient in the cruiser does show maybe a little bit of a mimic of a hormone that potentially gives it some vigor effect there. And then of course just the protection of the insecticide itself might be a little bit more apt to give it a little bit more growing capacity.

Jesse Wiant: So it has nothing to do with the Vibrance? So why did we see it when we added or changed from like, so I'm thinking of my South Dakota days. So CruiserMaxx at the lower fungicide rated to begin with, but then once we started adding Vibrance to it as a component before they figured out how to blend them, we were seeing tremendous difference in roots.

Jon Zuk: Vibrance does have a factor on root growth, primary because you were probably just seeing very small amounts of Rhizoctonia infection and when you fix that small amounts of Rhizoctonia infection, that's what fully promotes our roots to grow.

Jesse Wiant: So it's a combination.

Jon Zuk:  So it's definitely a one-two punch there and you got to remember Rhizoctonia is the disease that kind of blocks everything from going down because it works on the outside of that hypocotyl or that stem. So any of the photosynthates or anything coming down are going to be somewhat restricted. And if you don't have food going down from the small plant that's upstairs photosynthesizing the roots aren't being fed properly and you don't have as good of a root growth. So it's probably a little bit different effect than what we were talking about the vigor effect with the Cruiser component, but still another reason why you should still put in that Vibrance package and that's why it got added in.

Jesse Wiant:  Do you want to talk, Optimize?

Jon Zuk: With Optimize I like that the story all makes sense. I'm not sure that maybe they just need to be reminded this story, but what we need to understand is that bushels of soybeans don't come without the cost of nitrogen and our soil just can't supply that N that it needs. We need rhizobia to be as efficient as they possibly can because when you get into a 60 plus bushel environment, which last time I checked, most growers want and need to be there to make money is we need to have as much nitrogen fixation from the environment as possible. And so that's where I think making sure that that soybean never has a bad day. We always say that in terms of the corn, but that's the case with the soybeans, so I mean it's 34% protein, that means there's a lot of nitrogen demand, especially during the seed fill timeframe. And that's a lot of the times when we have maybe the most mineralization, but that's when our populations and our nitrogen fixation capacity's going down a little bit. And so having the best rhizobia there are going to maximize those two terms.

Jason Nelson:   I think you nailed it, Jon. I mean that's exactly it.

Jon Zuk:  I mean you nailed it in your summary that I needed to say cause that's what it is.

Jason Nelson: You know Ponwith always ask great questions of, Hey, what's your yield goal? Right? Is it 65 bushels? Well, what's our average yield in Sibley county, Jesse? When you're done drinking water.

Jesse Wiant: Probably 50 bushels.

Jason Nelson:  And the math laid out, like Jon talked about, nitrogen is a limiting factor because a soybean can mineralized enough for about 50 bushels of beans. Is it just odd that it happens to correlate with the average yield in Sibley county? I mean, that might be a limiting factor with soybean yield, right? It's not going to be the golden bullet, but it's going to be a factor.

Jesse Wiant:  Isn't it the silver bullet?

Jon Zuk: Golden bullet, silver bullet. I don't care.

Jesse Wiant:  Never heard of golden bullet before

Jon Zuk:  Gold is more fancy.

Jason Nelson: Yeah

Jesse Wiant:  Jon, Jason, thank you guys for coming in. We've covered a lot of information in just a few minutes here if there's any more questions regarding seed treatments or the possibility of managing sticky beans feel free to contact one of your UFC representatives and we'll make sure and get the answers that you're looking for. So again thank you both of you guys and appreciate the time.

Jon Zuk: Yeah, thanks for having us.

Jason Nelson: Thanks Jesse.

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