Utilization of foliar fungicides to improve the seed quality of early planted MG IV soybeans in South Carolina
Sustainable Production
GeneticsGenomicsSeed quality
Parent Project:
This is the first year of this project.
Lead Principal Investigator:
John Mueller, Clemson University
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
South Carolina growers have been experimenting with planting Maturity Group IV soybeans the first 2 weeks of April rather than in May and June. However, the crop often does not dry down properly, and seed appears discolored or slightly misshapen, which can lead to dockages. The project objective is to determine if fungicide applications improve or protect seed quality, the optimal growth stage for application to ensure seed quality, if multiple foliar fungicide sprays provide better protection than a single spray and the financial return above costs for each spray regime tested. Trials test the efficacy of foliar fungicides for improving natural defoliation and maturity of soybeans, preventing pod decay, seed discoloration, infection of seeds by pathogenic fungi, and preserving seed germination rates and quality.
Key Beneficiaries:
#agronomists, #extension agents, #farmers
Unique Keywords:
#fungicides, #harvest quality, #seed composition, #seed quality
Information And Results
Project Summary

South Carolina soybean producers are constantly looking for new ways to increase profitability and improve the logistical management of their farms. In many cases this involves making small adjustments to their current production systems, such as altering pesticides applied for weed or insect management. In other cases, it involves more extensive changes such as altering the relative acreages of crops they are growing to maximize logistical use of their time and equipment. South Carolina growers have been experimenting with growing Maturity Group IV soybeans planted at early planting dates, i.e., the first 2 weeks of April versus traditional planting dates in May and June. These early planting dates take advantage of what have been more favorable weather patterns. This includes avoiding the typically hot and dry weather of August during pod fill. It also opens the possibility of double cropping with an additional crop of corn or soybean. However, one of the problems encountered with this system being adapted in South Carolina is the difficulty in harvesting the crop. Pods and seed often do not dry down properly. It is often necessary to spray a desiccant to dry out the pods so that they crack open when going through a combine. In many cases with or without the desiccant the seed appear discolored or even slightly misshapen, which can lead to dockages. One potential procedure for protecting seed health is the application of a foliar fungicide. Foliar applied fungicides can provide 2 to 3 weeks of protection not just for the foliage, but also for stems, pods, and seeds. The objective of this project is to determine: 1). If the application of a fungicide will improve or protect seed quality; 2). What would be the optimal growth stage to apply a foliar fungicide to ensure seed quality; 3). Will multiple sprays of a foliar fungicide provide better protection than a single spray; and 4) The financial return above costs for each of the various spray regimes tested. Data collected will include yield per plot with a sample of seed from each plot visually rated for discoloration, physical condition, and fungal infections. Germination tests will be run for each seed lot. All data will be statistically analyzed and presented to growers at county, regional and state meetings as well as through electronic media including blogs and newsletters, field days at the two test locations, and in the “South Carolina Soybean Production Guide”.

Project Objectives

Objective: Create fields that will duplicate a soybean production system based on growing early MG IV soybeans identical to those a grower would have.
Goal 1. Test the efficacy of foliar fungicides for improving natural defoliation and maturity of soybeans.
Goal 2. Determine if foliar fungicide applications can prevent pod decay, seed discoloration, infection of seeds by pathogenic fungi, and preserve seed germination rates and quality.

Project Deliverables

Results available to growers during the growing season will include the weekly reports on incidence and severity of foliar diseases present at each of the 3 locations that will be posted in the weekly “Soybean Rust Newsletter”. This will begin at approximately 2-weeks prior to flowering (i.e. 2-weeks prior to R-1) and continue until defoliation.
Yields and information on seed quality will be collected from each plot at each location and reported as means per treatment by location in presentations at county, regional and state soybean production meetings to be held this fall.
Results will be presented at the Edisto REC Fall Field Day as well as at “mini-field days” held for growers at the “off-station” location. Plots can also be utilized as sites for “In-service trainings” for agents on identification and quantification of fungal foliar, stem and pod diseases. Results will be presented to growers at county or multicounty production meetings organized by county agents as well as at the “State Corn and Soybean Meeting” in December at Santee. Results will also be presented at the CCA training in Santee in November and at In-service trainings for Agronomic agents. Results will be available to growers in a written format as fact sheets or via electronic media as blogs or newsletters.
Quarterly reports will be submitted to the South Carolina soybean Board on the timeline they provide, i.e. every 3 months (April 2023, July 2023, October 2023, & January 2024).

Key Performance Indicators:
KPI1: A grower in Sumter County who will be utilizing an “early planting date with MG IV soybeans” production system will be identified to use as a cooperator for the on-farm trial. MG IV soybean varieties suitable for the test location in Sumter County and at the Edisto REC will be selected.
KP2: Plant fields at Edisto REC and in Sumter County between April 10 and April 20 depending upon weather conditions, especially soil moisture.
KP3: Initiate 6 spray regimes and the nontreated check at each location when plant growth is approximately 10 days before the R-3 growth stage. This should be approximately June 15th.
KP4: Apply harvest aid (desiccant) approximately August 1st. Harvest plots approximately to 10 days later.
KP5: Conduct evaluations of seed lots by plot for % germination, discoloration, and fungal infections.
KP6: Quarterly reports will be delivered as requested.

Progress Of Work

Final Project Results

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

-Increase profitability
-Improve the logistical management of their farm

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.