Shielding Seed Early May Pay Dividends Later
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A. Dale Ireland, Ph.D., technical product lead for Seedcare, Syngenta: As soon as seeds are planted, insects and disease organisms begin attacking the germinating seeds and the developing seedlings. Seed treatments provide immediate protection from these early-season pests and thus are vital to establishing the healthiest plant stand possible. Growers know that robust, uniform early plant growth across each field is critical to establishing a crop offering the greatest yield potential their seed genetics and the environment can provide. Reduced plant health and stand loss early in the season lead to profit loss at year-end. Comprehensive seed treatment use maximizes the crop’s income potential.
A. Jeff Hopp, CCA, agronomy service representative, Western Commercial Unit, Syngenta: The minute a seed is planted, the maximum yield potential for that crop is under attack from both biotic and abiotic stresses. When you choose the correct seed treatment, seeds, roots, shoots and stems are protected from key seedborne and soilborne diseases, as well as soil-dwelling and early-season above-ground insects. Seed treatments can also provide early-season protection — from moisture stressors associated with droughty to excessively wet soils and soil temperature fluctuations primarily associated with late fall and early spring cold soils.
Q. How can growers evaluate whether seed is treated properly?
A. Ireland: Most growers evaluate a seed treatment by the way it looks when they open their seed container. Often, the uniformity of the color governs whether growers believe their seed has a quality seed treatment applied correctly. Using an engineered premix, such as CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® seed treatment, provides an easier to apply, more accurate application that is more likely to deliver the performance customers expect. Only through an experienced seed treatment operation can seed be accurately treated. The Syngenta Seedcare Institute™ in Stanton, Minnesota, offers refresher training. This service delivers updates and improves applicator skills.
A. Hopp: Proper seed treatment application is critical to protect every seed, from planting through germination and early growth stages. I strongly encourage both commercial treaters and growers who use on-farm treating equipment to develop a game plan that includes the following steps:
- Always use disease-free, cleaned seed.
- Make sure all seed treating equipment is serviced prior to startup and as required during treating.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper calibration and application. For Syngenta Seedcare solutions, seed treating calculators by crop are available online.
- Collect and send captive samples to The Seedcare Institute or an approved lab for analysis. Testing will verify that the proper active ingredient (a.i.) load was applied in a uniform coating to the seed. A visual inspection alone does not ensure that optimum coverage and the correct a.i. load were achieved.
Q. Which seed treatment developments do you predict will generate the most excitement among growers in 2021 and why?
Reduced plant health and stand loss early in the season lead to profit loss at year-end. Comprehensive seed treatment use maximizes the crop’s income potential.
A. Ireland: Saltro® seed treatment — being used for the first season commercially in 2020 — is generating excitement throughout the industry because it delivers next-level control of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and nematode protection in soybeans. Saltro provides a new level of protection that is statistically superior to the previous market leader. Saltro provides excellent crop safety, industry-leading SDS protection, easier application and improved seed handling. It also provides equal protection against plant parasitic nematodes compared with the previous market leader.
A. Hopp: In the Western crop area, one of our most recent introductions is generating a lot of excitement in the Colorado potato market: Vibrance Ultra Potato seed-applied fungicide. Launched in the spring of 2020, it’s a combination of sedaxane, difenoconazole and mandipropamid and contains a proprietary drying agent in a liquid formulation. In trials and growers’ fields, Vibrance Ultra Potato has performed well by controlling seedborne late blight and providing the first round of defense in a pink rot management program.
Q. What role can growers, retailers and suppliers like Syngenta play in stewarding seed treatments?
A. Ireland: It takes a significant amount of time and resources to identify and develop a new seed treatment molecule. To keep seed treatments available to growers and help minimize environmental impacts, we all must work together to read and follow all labeled directions to ensure proper use and handling of these products. After all, cautiously stewarding them allows for a long, productive product life and provides our customers with an effective and potentially profitable experience.
A. Hopp: Manufacturers, retailers, seed houses and farmers all share the responsibility of stewarding the seed treatments they sell and use. Part of that stewardship includes following the instructions on the manufacturer’s label. Basic guidelines include:
Manufacturers, retailers, seed houses and farmers all share the responsibility of stewarding the seed treatments they sell and use.
- Make applications at the proper labeled rate.
- Use products at their full specified doses. Applying less than the full rate is the fastest way to reduce a product’s performance capabilities and shorten its life cycle through resistance development.
- Choose the right seed treatment specifically designed and formulated by crop.
- Whenever possible, use premix formulations with overlapping modes of action. For Syngenta seed treatments, applicators can work with The Seedcare Institute to develop a customized seed treatment to meet their local needs.