As growers navigate this year’s harvest, decisions for next season are already underway. Increasing those numbers on the yield monitor next year means creating the optimal management plan. Between choosing the right herbicides, soybean varieties, fungicides and more, seed treatments often get overlooked. But in an age where more than 85 percent of soybean seed is treated, this decision merits full attention.
According to the University of Minnesota Extension, seedling infections can cause damage that will persist throughout the growing season. However, when seed treatment decisions are made, it is impossible to know if next season’s weather conditions will be conducive for disease or other pressures.
“Growers need to be prepared for anything,” says Dale Ireland, Ph.D., Seedcare technical product lead at Syngenta. “And seed treatments are the first line of defense against early-season diseases and pests.”
Choosing the right seed treatment is critical to starting the season off strong. According to experts, a robust seed treatment should provide the following:
Resistance to seedborne and soilborne disease
Broad-spectrum protection against damaging early-season insects
Fast emergence and speed-to-canopy
High stand count
Improved root mass and health
Minimal issues with dust off, seed flow and equipment build-up
Product stability, which allows for consistent doses of active ingredients on each seed
Growers who opt for generic and custom blend seed treatments should ask their seed treaters or retailers if their seed treatments fulfill the needs above. On the surface, they may seem similar to a seed treatment like CruiserMaxx VibranceBeans seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products, but they may fall short in performance.
“Generic and custom blend seed treatment ingredients are at risk of separating in the tank prior to application – forming a solution visually similar to adding oil and water together – which leads to inconsistent doses of active ingredients across seeds,” Ireland says. “This means that some seeds do not receive proper protection from insects and diseases. Product separation can also lead to on-farm equipment clogging, making the planting process less efficient.”
Another example of varying performance across seed treatments is stand count. In 2016, Syngenta trials compared plant-stand performance of different seed treatments under disease pressure. The following percentages represent the average plant stand per acre:
· Untreated soybean seeds – 41 percent
· Generic blend – 56 percent
· Valent Intego Suite – 61 percent
· Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment – 63 percent
· CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans – 95 percent
Ireland attributes the superior performance of CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans in these trials to its four active ingredients that help soybeans establish a strong defense system to cope with various disease and insect pressures. The Cruiser Vigor Effect is scientifically proven to help produce robust, vigorous plants, even in the absence of insects. This boost also helps increase speed-to-canopy and as a result, aids in weed control. In contrast, generic treatments often use older technologies that have been replaced in the market with newer, higher performing active ingredients.
“Though they may look similar, not all seed treatments are created equal,” Ireland says. “Growers working to start the season strong need to know what’s on their seed. CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans is proven to be a stable formulation that not only provides the benefits growers expect from their seed treatment, but additional physiological advantages for the soybean roots and seedlings.”
CruiserMaxx Vibrance Beans also contains the RootingPower of Vibrance fungicide, which protects the root system through soil mobility and long-lasting systemic activity for an added level of Rhizoctonia protection.
“The color of different seed treatments may be the same, but the performance isn’t,” Ireland says. “Make sure you know what’s on your seed. Talk to your retailer or seed treater to ensure you start the 2018 season strong with a proven seed treatment.”