Soybean School: Know Your Agronomic Risk When Planting Off-Patent Soybean Seed

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Not only are there legalities that need to be considered when purchasing and planting off-patent soybean seed, as we discussed in an earlier Soybean School feature, but there are also agronomic considerations.

Due to the nature of the off-patent soybean seed market, assurances for the grower on maturity, germination, quality, and purity are often lacking when buying seed, notes Glenda Clezy, agronomy specialist with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers in this Soybean School episode (a follow-up to this discussion with Lorne Hadley of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency.)

“(Farmers) need to be really aware of the maturity of the seed that they’re purchasing and ensure it’s going to fit in the region where they’re growing that soybean seed,” she says. “Maturity is certainly important to reducing the risk in getting the soybeans off in fall prior to frost.”

For quality questions, take the seed to a lab, stresses Klezy.

In the long term, Clezy says she expects growers will shift away from these old varieties.

“There are a lot of new, shorter maturity varieties coming, varieties with new traits. Once growers who are using those varieties start to see a larger return on investment, higher yields, better protection from disease, that is going to drive a shift to the newer varieties,” she says.

And again, make sure you understand the legal nature of the seed you’re planting, Clezy emphasizes.

“As with any products, make sure you understand things like Plant Breeders’ Rights. Is it something you can save and regrow on your farm? Are you making a legal purchase? Is it something you’re allowed to buy from your neighbour? It’s certainly important to understand before you make any seed purchase,” she says.

Related: Soybean School: What to Know Before Sowing Off-Patent Soybean Seed

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