Spill the Beans recap: agronomist talks 2021 seed selection

Steven Regan, an agronomist with Asgrow DELAKB, shared his knowledge about the upcoming production challenges and seed selection opportunities for Minnesota farmers during the third episode of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association’s Spill the Beans webinar.

“It’s good to be mindful of what things we can do a better job of moving forward,” he said. 

Regan began the 45-minute presentation by showing a word cloud highlighting production priorities. “Yield” was the dominant word, and yield potential is usually the top factor in soybean seed selection. He encouraged growers to take advantage of university and company trials and consult with verified Certified Crop Advisors.  

“All those resources are out there to help you succeed,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re looking to improve yields and have a nice-looking soybean field.”

Regan said when growers are considering their seed selection options, the focus should be on genetic yield potential, weed control and maximizing return on investment.

“The basics really haven’t changed,” he said. “We just need to do a better job of following those tools. … We know a lack of weed control can adversely affect yield control.”

Regan, who covers territory primarily in southwest Minnesota, advised growers to leverage their resources, understand the planting rate scale and work with an agronomist when considering seed selection.

“All soybean varieties aren’t created equal,” he said, “but genetics matter and characteristics matter.

Areas of Minnesota have faced Iron Deficiency Chlorosis issues in recent years, along with white mold. Both could prove problematic for growers in 2021. Variety selection is the “first line of defense” against white mold, Regan said, though total resistance doesn’t exist yet.

“It’s something we continue to focus on,” he said. “When we’re selecting varieties, it’s important to understand our fields.”

Regan concluded his presentation by underscoring the effects of sudden death syndrome (SDS), a soil-borne pathogen that was first found in Minnesota in 2002. SDS, which thrives in cold, wet weather, spread rapidly across the Upper Midwest and Canada in 2018.

“It might not be something we see in all of our geography, but it’s creating more and more problems across Minnesota,” Regan said. “(SDS) is very persistent and it’s tough to mitigate.”

The next episode of Spill the Beans airs next Tuesday at 9 a.m. and will feature the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Josh Stamper, who will discuss what farmers need to know about applying dicamba in 2021. Each episode airs on Zoom and is livestreamed and archived on MSGA’s Facebook page. Register for Spill the Beans here today to become eligible to win a gift card.

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