The Year Of The Bean

James Banahan

James Banahan

2015 is the year of the bean…and for good reason.  Market analysts are forecasting more bean being grown this year than last in the good old U.S. of A.  And you don’t need me or no market analyst to tell you that.  I’ve heard you talking, helped you make fertilizer plans, sold you seed (maybe and hopefully), and hammered you (and been hammered by you) about chemistry options until we’re all tired of talking about them.

You knew already that 2015 is the year of the bean.

One thing that we don’t often talk a lot about though is seed treatment options.  And whether you bought your seed from us or a competing dealer, the deal is still the same: when it comes to seed treatments, you need to know your options and what your treatment controls for, or not.

In 2008, nationally, we treated about 30% of our soybean seeds.  Last year, that percentage was closer to 70%.  Obviously, something changed in the collective soybean grower mindset in those five years in between.  I highly doubt that y’all were just spending money to avoid paying income tax.  Maybe it was peer pressure.  Maybe the increase was a total fluke.  More likely though, you saw a benefit from the treatments.

When the units treated more than doubles in just six years, there has to be a good reason behind it.


Seed treatments might make your ears perk a bit—just another added expense, right?  You’re not alone.  In fact, just the other day I was watching an expert speak in a video put out by a land-grant university (I won’t name them, but they have an “N” for Nowledge on the side of their football helmets every fall) and even he had a suggestion about cutting seed treatment costs.  His idea was to skimp on insecticide, since by his estimate, it is only necessary 10-15% of the time.

Driving home that night though, I had to laugh.  I’ve been driving for about 15 years now.  My vehicle insurance has probably only been necessary 10-15% of the time (likely less even).  If only I had known when that 10-15% of the time would occur, I could have saved myself buckets of money!  But that’s the thing—you don’t know when you’re going to need it.  What I do know is that in those moments when I have needed it, thank goodness I had it.  It is in those moments when you realize the worth of the coverage.

The other thing about university experts is that their information is often based in research plots only slightly larger than your pick-up.  We are wonderfully fortunate to have people who devote their life’s work to doing the research that advances our industry, but you know as well as I do that soil can change from row to row, so following a recommendation based in a research block the size of your grandma’s garden isn’t always the path to profitability.

We all differ sometimes, the university and us, me and you, etc.  It’s good conversation and good for our fields.  Every now and then though, something pops up about which we can all agree.  This year, that’s the domination of the bean, so happy, happy planting.