Syngenta Seedcare Delivers Real-World Solutions

Syngenta Seedcare continues its long history of excellence with new seed treatment innovations and outstanding service.
Syngenta Seedcare Delivers Real-World Solutions.
Pat Foley (left), Syngenta Seedcare key account lead, and Gary Geske (right), an independent seed treater, work together to maximize the benefits of Syngenta seed treatments for growers in the Enderlin, North Dakota, area.
When you’re running a seed treating business and need to apply a specific amount of seed treatment per seed, the last thing you need is a technical glitch, like a plugged filter that disrupts the operation.

“Seed treatments have to work in the field, but you also need them to work during the seed treatment process,” says Gary Geske, an independent seed treater from Enderlin, North Dakota. “If things don’t flow properly, it’s such a hassle to shut down the seed treatment line.”

Accuracy and consistency are also vital to Geske, whether he’s treating seeds in the cooler morning or warmer afternoon hours. “You can’t afford to have treatment accuracy way out of whack. If you underapply and the seed treatment doesn’t work, you’ve lost a customer for life.”

“Syngenta products just work. The quality of its seed treatments is top-notch, and Syngenta Seedcare specialists are very knowledgeable.”

Gary Geske

That’s why Geske appreciates Syngenta Seedcare. With 40 years of market leadership in treating seed, Syngenta provides the proven seed treatment solutions Geske’s customers need to grow healthy, robust crops.

“Not all seed treatments are created equal,” says Geske, who has used Syngenta Seedcare products for 15 years. “Syngenta products just work. The quality of its seed treatments is top-notch, and Syngenta Seedcare specialists are very knowledgeable.”

A Legacy of New Product Development

Syngenta has been on the forefront of seed treatment research and innovation for four decades, starting in 1979 with Concep®, the first sorghum seed safener. Since then, the use of Syngenta seed treatments has grown exponentially.

“Even in times of lower commodity prices, seed treatments still have a high return on investment, especially with early planting,” says Ross Weikel, head of Syngenta Seedcare. “From diseases and insect pests to unpredictable weather, growers don’t know what challenges they’re going to face during the growing season. We’re providing solutions that can help, no matter the situation.”

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This became clear in 1982 with the introduction of Apron® fungicide seed treatment. “This seed treatment fungicide was a game changer,” says Ravi Ramachandran, Ph.D., head of The Syngenta Seedcare Institute for North America in Stanton, Minnesota. “It provided excellent control of downy mildews and — with later Apron XL® formulations of the product — devastating diseases, like Pythium, to help give growers the confidence to maximize their crops’ yield potential.”

As seed treatments evolved, Syngenta focused on crop safety and stewardship every step of the way. While growers used to apply 50 to 200+ grams of active ingredient (a.i.) per acre to control pests and diseases, new Syngenta seed treatments only required 1 to 15 grams. “These modern seed treatments were also much more effective than older chemistries, since molecules could be designed to target specific disease and pest organisms,” Ramachandran says.

One milestone for Syngenta was its 1993 launch of Maxim® seed treatment fungicide —the first seed treatment to be labeled “reduced risk” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Another big step change came in 1997 with the introduction of Cruiser®, the first seed treatment insecticide that Syngenta launched globally. More Cruiser seed treatment options emerged during the 20 years since its initial launch, including CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Beans insecticide/fungicide seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products. It optimizes root health, stress tolerance and plant vigor in soybeans for better emergence and increased crop productivity.

Syngenta also developed Avicta®, the first seed treatment nematicide, introduced in 2006; Clariva® pn, the first biological seed treatment nematicide, introduced in 2013; and Vibrance®, the first fungicide from Syngenta specifically developed for use as a seed treatment.

The latest Seedcare offering from Syngenta — Saltro® seed treatment fungicide, which recently received EPA registration — marks yet another breakthrough in the company’s long history of seed treatment innovation. “Saltro is going to be a huge product in soybeans,” says Weikel. “It promises to preserve yield potential by protecting soybeans from sudden death syndrome (SDS) without displaying any of the damaging side effects of phytotoxicity.”

In addition to SDS, Saltro will offer protection against nematodes, including soybean cyst nematode. “It will be easy to treat seeds with Saltro, because we specifically designed the formulation to fit this market, plus we have tested it extensively at The Seedcare Institute,” Ramachandran says.

While row crop seed treatments are important, Syngenta Seedcare also supports other crops with technologies, including Dynasty® PD, the first seed-delivered fungicide for peanuts, and Plenaris®, a fungicide seed treatment for sunflowers. There’s also the FarMore® Technology Platform, an on-seed application of separately registered seed protection products and proprietary application technologies designed to help vegetable growers maximize production.

With all of these products from Syngenta Seedcare, the goal is to help growers protect their seed investment, so they can get their crops off to the healthiest start possible.

“Growers make large investments in seed genetics, plus they’re planting much earlier to maximize yield potential,” says Shawn Potter, head of Seedcare product marketing for Syngenta. “The first three to four weeks are the most critical for seedlings. Seed treatments help them get off to a good start, even in cold, wet conditions.”

Partnerships Enhance Application Technology

While Syngenta has focused on developing new seed treatment technologies for decades, the team at The Seedcare Institute has also helped modify and fine-tune seed treating equipment along the way.

As demand for treated seed grew by the early 2000s, Syngenta helped develop continuous-flow treaters. “We put one of these drum treaters on a trailer and took it across the country to teach people how to use it,” Ramachandran says.

Today, Syngenta offers basic and advanced training for seed treatment applicators at its Seedcare Institute facility in Stanton. Retailers practice how to treat seed properly for the best coverage, use accurate dosing and troubleshoot potential problems. They also learn the importance of product stewardship.

Can’t make it to Stanton? “Syngenta has a team of Seedcare specialists across the country who can visit your site,” says Joe Kuznia, Syngenta Seedcare platform lead at The Seedcare Institute.

Advancing seed treatment technology involves making sure a seed treatment consists of the right mix of ingredients, or recipe, for each crop and geography. “You need the right formulation so the seed treatment sticks and stays on the seed,” Ramachandran says. “This requires coapplication of seed treatment products with crop-specific polymers.”

In-house seed-coating research capabilities at Stanton streamline this process. “We look at factors ranging from dust off to plantability to provide best results,” Kuznia says.

In the Pipeline

Syngenta continues to invest in research and development to create the next generation of seed treatments. The company hopes to introduce a new fungicide seed treatment that will contain the new a.i. picarbutrazox. Currently under regulatory review by EPA, the seed treatment — to be marketed as Vayantis® — will offer a new mode of action, providing protection from Pythium and Phytophthora in corn and soybeans. Plus, over the next five years, Syngenta hopes to launch a number of insecticide and nematicide seed treatments currently in its pipeline.

This is great news for Geske, who appreciates new solutions to offer growers in his area. “When my seed supplier announced the switch to the Syngenta Seedcare platform, a lot of its seed dealers — including me — were glad.”

Many crop production challenges can be managed with today’s advanced seed treatments from Syngenta. Think of a Syngenta seed treatment as an insurance policy, Weikel says. “It’s one of the few things you can count on in an unpredictable world.”

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