The Right Seed Treatment Can Greatly Impact Crop Productivity

To maximize yield potential, it’s more important than ever for growers to know what’s in the seed treatments that protect their seeds.
Jars of treated seeds are on display at the Syngenta Seedcare Institute in Stanton, Minnesota.
Jars of treated seeds are on display at the Syngenta Seedcare Institute in Stanton, Minnesota.

When it’s time to buy a pickup truck, do you just buy the first thing the dealer shows you? Unlikely.

When it’s time to take it easy, do you just grab the first beverage you see? Doubtful.

Experts at @SyngentaUS say it’s more important than ever for growers to know what’s in their seed treatments.

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“Whether it’s as small as a soft drink or as big as a truck, you usually don’t just take whatever is offered,” says Dale Ireland, Ph.D., technical product lead for Seedcare at Syngenta. “You have a brand in mind or want something specific to meet your needs. It’s time to take this same approach with seed protection.”

Steve Gomme, product lead for Seedcare at Syngenta, agrees and adds that as demand for seed treatments continues to rise, growers need to know what they’re really buying.

“When we interact with growers at trade shows, I ask them what seed treatments are they using on their crops,” he says. “Many growers don’t know. They see color on the seed and assume the crop is protected.”

But not all seed treatments are created equal, Ireland says. “Seed treatments are like cars. While a race car and a minivan might be painted the same color, the differences become clear when you put them to the test on the race track.”

Part of putting seed treatments to the test and selecting the right one is asking the right questions, note Ireland and Gomme. Those questions are as follows:

  • 1. What active ingredient or ingredients are included? Some seed treatments may only contain one active ingredient, while others contain multiple active ingredients with more than one mode of action for broader protection and improved stewardship to address resistance issues.
  • 2. What does the seed treatment protect against? While seed treatments can include fungicides and insecticides, there’s more to producing top yields than just managing disease and insects. For example, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) remains the No. 1 yield robber in soybeans. “It’s essential to ask whether your soybean seed treatments also protect against nematodes,” Gomme says.
  • 3. Who stands behind the seed treatment? It takes significant investments of time, money and expertise to develop proven, reliable seed treatments. “Also, make sure the company that supplies the technology provides service and support before, during and after the sale,” Ireland says.
  • 4. Does the seed treatment use the latest technology? “Older chemistries don’t offer the many advantages of new technologies, which often have lower use rates and more powerful active ingredients, gram for gram,” Ireland says. You get what you pay for, he adds. “Even though older chemistries cost less, they might be the worst few dollars you spend, if you don’t get the protection your crop requires.”
  • 5. What will return the best value to my acres? A good seed treatment won’t just prevent yield loss; it will boost yield potential, Gomme says. “All this puts more money back into your pocket.”

Syngenta Offers New Options

To provide growers with the latest technologies that can help them produce better quality, higher yielding crops, Syngenta is adding more Seedcare innovations to its corn and soybean portfolios, including:

  • Vibrance® Trio fungicide seed treatment—Developed primarily for soybeans, Vibrance Trio helps growers control early-season disease and boost root health for optimal water and nutrient uptake.

    “Seed treatments are like cars. While a race car and a minivan might be painted the same color, the differences become clear when you put them to the test on the race track.”

    Dale Ireland


    “This is our newest fungicide-only seed treatment for soybeans,” Gomme says. “It’s all about starting strong with healthy roots.”

    Vibrance Trio contains the highest rate of mefenoxam, the active ingredient that protects against Pythium and Phytophthora. “In trials, we’ve seen 2.2- to 2.5-bushel-per-acre (bu/A) yield gains with Vibrance Trio, compared with a check treatment in heavy-disease environments,” says Gomme.1

    Vibrance Trio, which received EPA registration this summer, is available for the 2019 planting season, with registration on pulse crops and legumes anticipated as well.

  • Vibrance Cinco fungicide seed treatment—Specifically designed for corn, Vibrance Cinco contains five active ingredients and five modes of action in one premix, providing multiple effective modes of action against all major corn seed and seedling diseases:

    • Sedaxane, which manages Rhizoctonia exceptionally well and delivers proven benefits from Rooting Power, the link between strong roots and higher yield potential
    • Fludioxonil, which delivers consistent, comprehensive protection against diseases, including Rhizoctonia and Fusarium
    • Mefenoxam, the worldwide standard for Pythium protection
    • Azoxystrobin, effective on seedborne and soilborne fungal diseases, while providing protection from Pythium and Rhizoctonia
    • Thiabendazole, which provides robust Fusarium spp. protection as well as Rhizoctonia activity
    “Vibrance Cinco combines the RootingPower of Vibrance with the industry-leading disease protection of Maxim® Quattro seed treatment,” says Todd Edgington, product marketing lead for Seedcare at Syngenta. “The result is a convenient premix that layers five modes of action for more consistent performance, enhanced activity and greater resistance management.”

    Independent trials prove Vibrance Cinco, which is available for the 2019 planting season, consistently outyields commercial standards by 2 bu/A, says Edgington.2 He adds that, in trials with heavier disease pressure, the seed treatment produced a 6.7-bu/A yield benefit.3 This yield advantage results from the powerful disease protection Vibrance Cinco offers, which leads to maximum root development, emergence and stand establishment.

  • Vayantis® fungicide seed treatment—Pending registration from the Environmental Protection Agency, this new, systemic fungicide seed treatment with a brand-new mode of action will protect corn and soybean seedlings from key diseases caused by oomycete plant pathogens. In corn, it is expected to offer the broadest spectrum of protection against Pythium, the No. 1 most destructive disease in the crop, across more species of the disease than any other product.

    “Trials show that picarbutrazox, the active ingredient in Vayantis, will offer extremely robust protection against Pythium and Phytophthora—both important soybean seed and seedling diseases,” Ireland says. “Protecting crops from these diseases is critical, because once a seedling’s early growth and development are lost, they can never be regained.”

    Vayantis belongs to the tetrazolyloximes chemical group of fungicides (FRAC code U17). This seed treatment has no known cross-resistance and will broaden integrated-pest-management strategies, says Ireland, who adds that Syngenta anticipates registration in early 2020.

  • Saltro® fungicide seed treatment—Also pending regulatory approval, Saltro is expected to protect soybeans from sudden death syndrome (SDS) and will be an important component in the management of nematode damage.

    In trials with high-pressure SDS disease situations, Saltro has delivered a 3-bu/A or more soybean yield advantage, compared with ILeVO® seed treatment, Ireland notes.4 “Even in trials with low-disease-pressure situations, we still see a 1.5- to 2-bushel yield bump with Saltro,” he adds.5 Also, unlike ILeVO, Saltro in trials showed no signs of plant phytotoxicity, which causes a “halo effect” of chlorotic, damaged and stunted soybean plants.

    Saltro will contain Adepidyn®, the Syngenta novel fungicide molecule with the succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor mode of action. “It’s easy on early plant growth and provides a new level of protection from Fusarium, which causes SDS,” Ireland adds.

    Syngenta anticipates first registrations of Saltro in the U.S. and Canada in 2019, followed by Australia in 2020.
Investing in innovation allows Syngenta to provide growers with proven seed treatment solutions. “We know times are tough and margins are tight,” Gomme says. “That’s why it’s essential to ask what’s on your seed. Focusing on return on investment, not just cost, helps you protect your seed investment and maximize your crop’s potential.”

1. Syngenta field trial (n = 15); 2011 to 2012, trial locations: NE, WI, MO, IA, MN, IL, IN, OH
2. Syngenta internal and third-party data (n = 107)
3. Syngenta internal and third-party data; Rhizoctonia solani trials (n = 29 trials)
4. Syngenta field trial data (n = 12); 2015 to 2017
5. Syngenta field trial data (n = 26); 2015 to 2017