Evaluation of Growth-Promoting Products for Soybean Production in Maryland
Sustainable Production
Crop protectionDiseaseField management
Lead Principal Investigator:
Andrew Kness, University of Maryland
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Leveraged Funding (Non-Checkoff):
In-kind support from Verdesian Life Sciences
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Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
Many growth-promotion products tout benefits for soybean production. Proprietary combinations of fertilizers, carbon, sugars, growth regulators and other ingredients crowd the input market, as companies continue to release new products. However, limited third-party research exists to assess fit for these products in specific production systems. This research conducts trials comparing soybeans treated with several locally available growth-promoters, monitoring emergence, vegetative growth and canopy height during the season, and yield at harvest.
Key Beneficiaries:
#agronomists, #Extension agents, #farmers
Unique Keywords:
#growth promotion, #growth regulator, #growth regultor, #planting date, #seed treatment, #soybean diseases, #take off
Information And Results
Project Summary

A full-season commercial soybean variety with good yield potential representative of what’s typically grown in Maryland and will be purchased for use in all trials across all site locations. Seed will be direct seeded into no-till corn residue on two site locations (Western MD Research & Education Center in Keedysville, MD and the Wye Research & Education Center in Queenstown, MD). Plots will be planted on 15 inch rows, 20 feet wide by 30 feet long, arranged in a randomized split plot design. Plots will be planted at three different planting dates (Early April, Late April, Late May) and split by Take Off ST and untreated seed. Each treatment will be replicated 5 times to maximize statistical power. Control treatments will not receive any treatments. Take Off ST (seed treatment) will be applied at label rates to soybean seed by a local seed dealer. Fertility and crop management (weeds and insects) will be managed in accordance with extension guidelines. Stand counts will be conducted approximately two weeks after planting to assess emergence. Measurements will be analyzed and compared using statistical methods and used to determine if there are any treatment effects. Plots will be harvested with a small plot combine at maturity. Yields for each plot will be calculated and a statistical analysis will be done to compare treatment yields to determine if there’s any treatment effect.

Project Objectives

1. Compare soybean seed treated with Take Off ST seed treatment to untreated controls at three planting dates.
2. Measure the effect of Take Off ST on soybean emergence.
3. Determine the yield impact of seeds treated with Take Off ST vs untreated controls.
4. Disseminate results to growers through Extension meetings, publications, and scholarly publications.

Project Deliverables

At the conclusion of the study, data will be published in extension publications and/or peerreviewed crop production journals. Data will also be presented to growers at regional and statewide meetings.

Progress Of Work

Soybean plots have been planted at both Wye REC (Queenstown, MD) and WMREC (Keedysville, MD). Significant rainfall and poor field conditions delayed the Wye REC planting dates. Planting dates were as follows:

Early: April 26 (WMREC) and May 18 (Wye REC)
Mid: May 11( WMREC) and June 1 (Wye REC)
Late: May 26 (WMREC) and June 17 (Wye REC)

As of this report, the soybeans at WMREC are between R1 and R3 and the plots at Wye REC are between V3 and R1.

Emergence and stand counts were conducted on all plots and will be used to compare treated vs untreated seed to determine if there are any statistical differences. This data will be analyzed in the coming months. Yield data will be collected at harvest, anticipated to be in late October-November.

Data from the three years of this project is scheduled to be presented to growers during the Aug 11 Soybean Field Day at the Wye REC.

Final Project Results


View uploaded report PDF file

Take Off ST did not provide improved emergence in the 2021 trials and actually suppressed germination at the WYE middle plating location. However, it should be noted that the planting dates for the WYE location were later than those at WMREC, which could have contributed to this observation. In the previous two years of study, emergence of early planted soybeans was increased with Take Off ST. Even when relative emergence data was calculated and combined across locations there were no significant differences (data not shown, P>0.10). This is in contrast to what we observed in 2019 and 2020, where our trials that were planted earlier in the year had significantly better emergence with Take Off ST. This may be explained by weather conditions; 2019 and 2020 was cooler and wetter at our early planted locations, especially during the month of April compared to 2021 where we experienced excellent planting conditions at both locations. Data from these three years suggest that Take Off ST may help soybeans emerge in soils that are cooler and wetter, but may have little benefit for later planted soybeans. This effect may be attributed to the prothioconazole, a fungicide seed treatment that prevents preemergence damping off caused by many soilborne pathogens that are common in cool, wet soils.

Grain Yield
Yields were slightly above average at WMREC and slightly below average at WYE; this difference is likely explained by planting dates. The WMREC plots were seeded approximately one month earlier than the WYE plots.
Individual plot yields varied more at WMREC than at WYE, which could be explained by significant groundhog pressure at WMREC. As a result, extreme outliers in the dataset for WMREC were excluded in the data analysis. The only statistically significant difference in yield was observed at WMREC, where Take Off ST treated seed yielded significantly more than the non-treated seed for the middle planting date. All other pairwise comparisons within planting date × location were the same.

In order to eliminate location as a variable in our combined data analysis, relative yield was calculated. When treated seed was compared to non-treated seed in this fashion, Take Off ST treated seed yielded significantly better than non-treated seed for early and middle plantings. These data coincide with our previous observations of improved plant emergence at earlier planting dates.

None the treatments affected grain moisture or test weight.

Future research should be focused on repeating these trials to understand the effect of Take Off ST on soybeans planted at different planting dates in comparison to non-treated seed.

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

Soybean farmers have had many new products come on the market in recent years touted as growth-promoting products intended to help growers attain high-yielding soybeans. Many of these products contain growth regulators, hormones, humic acids, carbon, sugars, and/or fertilizer1. Limited replicated research has been done with these products to assess their application and utility in Maryland’s unique climate and growing conditions. With funding in 2019-2020 we evaluated several of these products (such as Take Off ST (seed treatment), Take Off LS (liquid solution), Agri-sweet, and Monty’s Carbon) to assess their effect on soybean growth and yield, and to compare them to equivalent treatments of fertilizer and an untreated control. In both years we observed an increase in soybean emergence with seeds treated with Take Off ST seed treatment at our early planted locations. In order to better understand this trend in our data, we propose comparing Take Off ST treated seed to nontreated seed in plots planted at different planting dates with the hypothesis that stand may be improved with Take Off ST in early pant dates, with less of an effect with later plant dates.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.