Whether you’re planting your own seed, buying from another seed grower or booking your favourite brand of hybrid, I encourage you to look at treatment options. A seed treatment, tailored to your field conditions, does more than protect from insects and disease – it will pay off in better plant stand and crop establishment.
There are many seed treatment options available today, but before your agronomist can provide a recommendation for your field, you need to know what kind of pressure you’re dealing with. Here’s what Cargill agronomists consider when recommending seed treatments to growers:
1. Test for seed-borne disease
I always encourage customers to submit a sample of their seed for testing. In cereals, there could be C. Sativus spp., Fusarium spp. or Pythium spp. on the seed. Pulses could be infected with Botrytis cineram, Colletotrichum spp. or Sclerotinia spp. The Raxil® or the Quattro family of products are strong options for controlling seed-borne disease, and the results from your seed test provide the best guideline for choosing treatments.
2. Prepare for soil-borne disease
Even if your seed test comes back squeaky clean, soil-borne disease could still rob your crop of vigour. Depending on the weather, different diseases may thrive. When we get a warm, dry spring, farmers often think they’re out of the woods and may stop treating their seed with fungicide. In reality, every weather pattern will support one strain of disease or another. For example, Fusarium and Cochliobolus sativus (root rot) love warm, dry conditions. For this reason, I encourage farmers to treat their seed with a fungicide.
3. Protect from pests
Depending on the field, you may struggle with cutworms or wireworms. Consider a product like Cruiser® Vibrance® Quattro or Raxil PRO Shield for cereals. They contain an added insecticide that will protect your seed from insects for the first three weeks after seeding.
All canola hybrids are pre-treated with a fungicide. However, if you expect to face cutworm pressure, you may need to add an insecticide like Lumiderm™. It’s shown significant benefits for canola crops planted in cutworm-infested fields.
Research isn’t conclusive on which weather conditions favour insects. The best way to defend against pests is to be proactive – treat the seed you’re planting into fields with known issues.
4. Focus on application
Once you’ve developed your seed treatment plan and it’s time to apply, remember that coverage is everything. Inconsistent and incomplete coverage will leave some of the crop unprotected, limiting your return on investment. To get the full benefit of your seed treatments, take time to adjust your equipment settings for optimum coverage.
When I talk to farmers about seed treatment, I encourage them to think of it as one part of a potential crop input package. Picture seed treatments, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and fertilizers as layers – the more layers you apply to the crop, the more protection it has from environmental conditions and the better its chance of reaching its full yield potential. Of course, all those layers cost money. Think closely about which layers you want to invest in and which you can afford to cut out.
On my farm, seeding is the most important step. If I don't have a crop established, I don't have a crop later. I want to make sure I have the best stand possible going into spraying season, and seed treatment is good insurance for that.
If seeding is an important step on your farm too, I encourage you to talk to a Cargill agronomist. We can help you evaluate your growing conditions, weigh your options and decide which seed treatments are the right choice for your farm.
Always read and follow label directions. Raxil® is a registered trademark of the Bayer Group. Bayer CropScience is a member of CropLife Canada.
CRUISER® and VIBRANCE® are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company.
As with all crop protection products, read and follow label instructions carefully. Lumiderm™ is a registered trademark of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. E. I. du Pont Canada Company is a licensee. Member of CropLife Canada. © Copyright 2015 E. I. du Pont Canada Company. All rights reserved.