Seed Treatments Are Investments Worth Making
An estimated 80 percent of all plant problems start underground with root damage, caused by soilborne and seedborne plant pathogens, early-season insects, and nematodes. All of this can limit the rate of nutrient and moisture uptake, which can curtail plant growth and impact yields.
“Every bushel counts, especially in today’s economic environment,” says Palle Pedersen, Ph.D., head of Seedcare product marketing for Syngenta. “Research proves that stronger, healthier roots lead to improved crop performance.”
Seed treatments help protect the crop when it’s most vulnerable—the first three or four weeks after planting. “You have to plant early to maximize yields,” Pedersen says. “Since you’re not always planting into optimum seedbeds, seed treatments can help your crop get off to a strong start.”
Today’s seed treatments are more than just an insurance policy against pathogens and insect pests, though. These high-tech products go right to the root of higher yield potential.
“More research is pointing to root health as the key to helping plants reach their full genetic potential,” Pedersen says. “Seed treatments that contribute to below-ground protection and above-ground plant vigor are vital during the critical early stages of growth when yield potential is determined.”
Linking Strong Roots, Higher Yield Potential
Maximizing yield potential drives innovations from Syngenta, including CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Beans seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products that together provide below- and above-ground protection. Vibrance, one of its three fungicide components, is a proven seed-treatment fungicide that helps deliver more consistent yields across a wide range of crops.
“Vibrance protects seed from the start to help shield developing root systems from disease, enhance root growth and improve crop productivity,” Pedersen says.
As a result, CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans establishes a higher plant stand than competitive seed treatments—20 percent higher in Syngenta field trials under inoculated disease pressure. “You can’t optimize yields if you don’t have solid, strong plant stands,” Pedersen says. In addition, Syngenta and independent trials show CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans offers a 2.8-bushel per acre (bu/A) yield advantage, compared to untreated beans.
“With today’s technology, you can greatly reduce human error and dial in accuracy with prescription-based seed treatments.”
Cruiser® insecticide is another key ingredient in CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans. “Cruiser helps enhance vigor, resulting in improved canopy closure, root health and overall yield,” Pedersen says.
Seed Treatment Done the Right Way
Of course, any seed treatment is only as good as the treater behind it. That’s why Syngenta Seedcare™ has a team of local experts who go above and beyond to provide resellers treating the seed with the services they need. In addition to advising customers on how to best handle and apply seed treatments, calibrate equipment, and deliver the right dose on the seed, Syngenta Seedcare specialists also tailor solutions for each seed-treating operation.
Consider Helena Chemical. Employees at the company’s Elaine, Arkansas, location are always looking for the latest technologies on the market and asked Syngenta Seedcare Specialist Anthony Crocker for recommendations.
“I knew they wanted to be as accurate as possible with their seed treatments and provide the best service,” Crocker says. “Helena is innovative and proactive, so they were receptive to utilizing some different technologies, such as prescription-based treating and loss-in-weight seed metering.”
The process started in 2016, when Crocker visited Helena’s Elaine location, listened to the Helena team’s needs and developed an action plan tailored to these needs. Crocker recommended a new seed treater that used some of Helena’s existing conveyors.
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“Proper calibration is critical with any seed treater,” Crocker says. “With today’s technology, you can greatly reduce human error and dial in accuracy with prescription-based seed treatments.”
The KSi seed treater installed in Elaine in 2017 was equipped with PC-based automation and incorporated remote-access technology and a loss-in-weight flow control system.
“I was a little skeptical at first,” says Jeremy Jones, sales representative and location manager at Helena’s Elaine location. “What if we had trouble with this computer system?”
Michael Butler, Helena warehouse manager at the Elaine location, also shared these concerns. “We were excited to get the new seed treater, but it was scary, too, with all these bells and whistles I’d never worked before.”
Between input from Crocker and technical support from KSi, the Helena team quickly learned how to operate the new seed treater, which impressed them from the start. “Its automation capabilities blew me away,” Butler says.
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The treater is also extremely accurate, says Butler, who adds that all samples he sent in for testing this spring came back close to perfect. “Growers who buy high-quality treated seed from us can be confident they’re getting what they paid for.”
Looking Toward 2018
In 2018, Syngenta anticipates offering resellers, including Helena, the next generation of soybean seed treatments—Clariva® Elite Beans seed treatment. Upon registration, this new premix formulation of Clariva pn nematicide and CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans will provide all of the benefits of CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans, plus season-long, lethal activity against soybean cyst nematode (SCN), the most damaging pest to soybean yields in the U.S.
“Clariva Elite Beans is coming at a critical time for soybean growers who are battling SCN,” says Pedersen. “It is designed to enhance the performance of SCN-resistant varieties in fields where SCN populations have adapted to PI88788, the most common source of genetic resistance.”
In multiyear trials, Clariva Elite Beans averaged yielding 2.6 bu/A more than an insecticide/fungicide seed treatment alone. In some fields, the yield increase was much higher—up to 10 bu/A.
While it’s impossible to predict what the 2018 season will bring, Syngenta aims to continue offering resellers like Helena the tools they need to succeed. “We want to earn growers’ confidence in 100 percent of our services, not just a fraction of them,” Butler says. “We’re becoming a trusted market leader in treating seed, thanks, in part, to the support Syngenta provides.”