ISRC funds seed treatment research that could help farmers’ and their soybean crops

AMES, Iowa – National Seed Health System co-director and professor of seed pathology Gary Munkvold, is part of a team awarded $150,000 by The Iowa Soybean Research Center (ISRC) in support of soybean research project at Iowa State University.

Munkvold and Professor Larry Halverson will use the funding to study the effects of soybean seed treatments on the seed and soil microbiome. Munkvold, who works at the ISU Seed Science Center, said they plan to recruit graduate students to work on the project.

“I will provide the seed treatment expertise and supervise a grad student working on the project, while Dr. Halverson will provide the knowledge and expertise in microbiome analysis,” Munkvold said.  

Seed treatments are known to improve crop performance, but there is little information about exactly how they affect microbial colonization in the zone in the soil surrounding a seed as it germinates and how long these effects last. The researchers will study the reaction of soil microflora, including pathogens, to the presence of different seed treatment products on soybean seeds. The results will help in making informed decisions about seed treatment usage in soybean. 

“We hope that this project will help farmers make better decisions about the best seed treatments for their soybean crops,” Munkvold said. “It may also lead to the discovery of new options for biological seed treatments.”

The ISRC is a formal collaboration of Iowa soybean farmers, industry partners, the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Current industry partners include AGCO, Albaugh, AMVAC, BASF, Bayer, Beck’s, Cornelius Seed, Corteva Agriscience, FMC, GDM, Innvictis/Simplot, Latham, Merschman Seeds, Mosaic, Peterson Genetics, Syngenta and UPL. Each industry partner has a representative who serves on the center’s advisory council along with three farmer representatives. The council meets annually to provide feedback on what research they would like to see funded.

“We thank the Iowa State researchers who submitted ideas,” ISRC Director Greg Tylka said. “I am continually amazed at the high quality of the research ideas that are presented to the center and have noticed many researchers now are collaborating more, combining their talents and knowledge in different areas of expertise.”

About the Seed Science Center

The Seed Science Center at Iowa State University is a national and international center of excellence in seed research, education, technology transfer, and global seed programs.

About the Iowa Soybean Research Center

The Iowa Soybean Research Center was established in 2014 by Iowa State University in partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association. The center was founded to increase soybean production and profitability for Iowa farmers through coordinated research efforts involving Iowa State, the Iowa Soybean Association and the private sector. Information on becoming an industry partner of the Iowa Soybean Research Center is available by contacting center director Greg Tylka, 515-294-0878 or