Don't Be Mean to Your Soybean; Growers Warned to Be Gentle with Seed

Article excerpt

WITH the rapid expansion of the soybean crop into new areas and planting seed quality issues this season, growers and contractors need to be aware of the delicate nature of soybean seed, the need to treat it gently and to discuss any quality issues with seed suppliers.

The industry has also raised concerns through the Better Oilseeds project of the GRDC and Australian Oilseeds Federation that some growers are opting to grow unsuitable varieties for their region or sowing soybeans too early in their eagerness to capitalise on recent rainfall events.

Soybean co-ordinator, Ian Morgan, with Philp Brodie Grains in Toowoomba said that soybean seed should always be handled delicately as tests conducted by the company has shown germination of soybean planting seed can be reduced by as much as 20 to 30 per cent, simply due to dropping bags of seed.

Mr Morgan also said that planting seed quality may not be as good this season, with a higher than normal percentage of abnormal seeds for most varieties, which may result in reduced emergence if sown in less than ideal conditions.

"We have tested all our lines and found no dead seed. But there's no doubt there's a higher than normal percentage of abnormal seeds this season, which varies from seed lot to seed lot," he said.

Abnormal seed will germinate under good conditions, but if conditions at sowing are adverse, the crop emergence can be reduced, he said.

"This year it's more important than ever to remind people of the delicate nature of soybean seed," he said.

"Soybean growers should stick to the recommended sowing rates. We don't advise that growers increase their sowing rates, because they may run into problems with excessive plant populations, which can reduce yields if the season is dry," he said. …