New soybean seed treatment takes on SDS

Nobody wants to hear the phrase “sudden death” associated with their crop, but in soybeans, sudden death syndrome (SDS) is a very real threat, causing annual yield losses of 20 to 60 per cent. That should change with ILeVO, the first seed treatment registered against SDS.

David Kikkert, crop and campaign marketing manager, soybeans and pulses, with Bayer explains: “In 2016 we once again conducted research trials with the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the average yield gain with ILeVO over non-treated seed was four bushels per acre,” he says.

“This further backed up previous results of research trials in both Canada and the U.S. Our five-year average in these trials was a 3.4 bushels per acre improvement over untreated seed.”

ILeVO permeates the roots and young seedlings, moving at a high-concentration into the cotyledons and unifoliates, and then stays in the seed zone. It protects the seedling and root system against the SDS fungus and has activity on nematodes in the seed zone.

“The fungus that causes SDS is very common in soils and can be difficult to identify,” says Kikkert. “The disease tends to show up under stressful conditions. However, practices like improving soil drainage to help reduce cool, moist soils, rotating crops, avoiding or reducing soil compaction and maintaining proper pH and fertility levels, can all help in reducing, but not controlling, SDS.”

Currently SDS is only a threat in Ontario, but it is expected to move into all soybean-growing regions in the coming years. ILeVO is also registered for protection against soybean cyst nematode (SCN), which has already spread across Ontario to Quebec and is a real threat to Manitoba growers as well. While there are a few SDS and SCN resistant varieties available to growers, that resistance alone is not enough to provide adequate control to reduce yield losses.

ILeVO will be available to seed companies and commercial seed treaters for the 2017 growing season. —Jennifer Barber