DIY Seed Treatment on the Farm?


When soybeans gained popularity as a relative newcomer in the Medora area, Gilson began growing the oilseed in 2015, and wanted to be spot-on with varieties, treatment, and guidance. “I turned where I could trust and that was Nielsen Seed, and I work side-by-side with them, and take advantage of early booking program discounts on product and seed to provide a little more freedom on cost. I know exactly how much treatment to the ounce is going on my beans and the precise cost for each product, and even how long each batch was treated. It all equates with peace of mind.”

Further, Gilson isn’t charged a treating rate—no application fee. In addition, he gleans data from Nielsen’s independent field plot data, and frequently participates in the trials. “I have a partnership and a close relationship with a dealer who has a farmer’s interest at heart. I don’t get banged with treating costs. Also, I know the exact amount of product on my seed, his machine is calibrated perfectly, it’s clean, and everything is accurately applied.”

The assurance that a dealer stands behind seed and treatment products is a vital package, Gilson says. “Everyone is different and you may have to change products just a few miles south in Grand Forks. I need to always know what the best and latest products are for my area. I have to recognize the changes and I’ve found great dealer help in picking the right products.”

“Seed treatment is crucial,” he continues, “and I understand why guys consider all options. Again, I’ve got peace of mind that this is the right way for me.”

Responsibility for due diligence regarding treatment products rests on grower shoulders, Gilson concludes. Considering the steady flow of new treatments on the market, he urges a trust-and-verify approach: “We’re bombarded with new stuff and many are not value-adders for your region, so do your homework. Ask reps lots of questions, get in your truck and go to a trial or field day, and talk to other farmers. Choosing the right product for your area is key.”


In 2016, Jimmy Frederick, 37, paid under $30,000 for a seed treater—and says the investment was money well spent. Most years, he works 2,500 acres of corn and soybeans in Richardson County, tucked in the southeast corner of Nebraska. (Frederick’s 2019 planted acreage took a severe cut due to heavy spring floods.)

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“Everything—insecticide, inoculant and biologicals—is put on in a single pass. It’s just not a big learning curve and I got it down pretty quick.”

Echoing Lund, Frederick says timing flexibility is a major benefit of self-treatment, and enables him to “hold beans till the last minute.”

Due to self-treatment of soybean seed, Frederick estimates savings at $12,000 each year. “I’ve also got customers now and I treat for them as well. I don’t know if owning a treater is for everyone, but I haven’t run into any problems at all and having a treater is a great fit on my farm.”

For more, see:

Breaking Bad: Chasing the Wildest Con Artist in Farming History

Against All Odds: Farmer Survives Epic Ordeal

Killing Hogzilla: Hunting a Monster Wild Pig

Shrimp Farmer Hits Home Run in the Heartland

Agriculture's Darkest Fraud Hidden Under Dirt and Lies

Blood And Dirt: A Farmer's 30-Year Fight With The Feds

In the Blood: Hunting Deer Antlers with a Legendary Shed Whisperer

Who Killed the Finest Soybean Soil in the World?

Seeds of Discord: Crossing the Great Cover Crop Divide

Living the Dream: Honoring A Fallen Farmer

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