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Seed treatments still make sense in a dry year

Read Time: 8 minutes

By Janina Currah January 06, 2022

Disease may be flourishing in your minimum till fields


In any given year – moist or dry – it’s been my experience that a mere 60% of wheat seed goes down with a seed treatment applied. Conditions might still be pretty dry across much of the prairies this spring. I’m convinced that using a treatment to protect the seed and your eventual yield is the right approach to take regardless of the moisture conditions.

When seeding conditions seem dry, we tend to forget that some common practices still lend themselves to creating the perfect conditions for fusarium, pythium and rhizoctonia to flourish. Those who practice minimum or zero-till have left stubble and thatch (a buildup of organic matter, earth worms, nematodes and bacteria on the top layer of the soil), which will help retain precious moisture, maintain soil structure, supply nutrients to the crop, and can provide the right conditions for seedling diseases to affect growing plants.

Not only do seed treatments provide protection from a range of diseases that are lying in wait for a developing crop, but they also can protect against insects like wireworms and cutworms that might reduce targeted plant populations.

Seed treatments can also help plants emerge more quickly and establish a strong root system, which will be very important to help plants access moisture and nutrients in the soil if dry conditions persist. It has also been known to amplify the “pop up effect” which will allow your crop to get out of the ground quickly and start producing yield. 

Here are some of my customers’ top options when it comes to seed treatment:

a chart outlining the different uses for different seed treatments

Cargill now offers on-farm seed treating using Storm* seed treaters. If you’re considering a seed treatment for your cereal or pulse crop, contact your Cargill representative to discuss your options.


Vibrance® is a registered trademark of Syngenta Canada.

Raxil® and Trilex® are registered trademarks of Bayer CropScience.

Teraxxa® F4 and Insure® Pulse are registered trademarks of BASF.

RANCONA® is a registered trademark of an Arysta LifeScience Group CompanF4

*Storm is an Ag Growth International brand.

Janina head shot

Janina Currah

Janina is an expert on canola management and growing cereal crops including wheat and oats. She has been working full time in the agriculture industry for 10 years since graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Janina has been with Cargill for 11 years and has been leading Cargill’s agronomy team in Saskatchewan for the last four. Janina is always improving her knowledge about agronomic issues, and loves sharing solutions with growers and her team.