Heavy moisture and temperature extremes can affect soybean seed quality. Not only can these seed quality issues potentially cause dockage at the elevator, but they can also alter soybean seed composition and affect germination if these are seed beans.
Soybean Extension Specialist Dr. Rachel Vann tells us about four issues of concern this year and what we can do about them:
1. Soybean seeds sprouting in the pod: This can occur when the seed moisture drops below 50% and then picks back up quickly above 50% from wet/dry cycles.
2. Purple seed stain: This disease is caused by the Cercospora fungus, and can cause blotchy purple spotting on the seed or fully purple seed. This may or may not be a problem for your buyer.
3. Phomopsis seed decay: This fungus can cause chalky white seed or shriveled seed.
4. Fusarium seed decay: Can cause moldy seed.
Protecting soybean seed quality:
Timely harvest is critical. We talk a lot about the potential yield benefits of planting early, and earlier maturing varieties in North Carolina, but if you are going to commit to that system, you need to be committed to timely harvest.
A fungicide application during seed development can help protect against some of these soybean seed quality issues.
Using a good crop rotation can also help manage soybean seed quality issues, because some of these diseases survive from year to year on soybean residues.
North Carolina State University contributed this article.