Report examines value of seed treatment for agriculture
CropLife Foundation (CLF) released “The Role of Seed Treatment in Modern U.S. Crop Production,” an in-depth report detailing the uses of seed treatments, primarily fungicides and insecticides, and the resulting benefits for growers, consumers and the environment. The report highlights the role of modern seed treatments in producing healthier, more uniform crops; increasing crop value; and allowing growers to plant earlier in the season, all while reducing potential environmental exposure through an increasingly precise application method.
Seed treatment refers to the direct application of crop protection products to the surface of a seed prior to planting. This method of crop protection suppresses, controls and repels pathogens, insects and other pests that threaten to limit seed viability and health from the time that the seed enters the soil through its development. Seed treatment also helps protect high-quality seed that has been enhanced through other agricultural technologies, such as hybrid or genetically modified seed, resulting in added value to growers.
The CLF report cites research conducted throughout the country on some of the measurable, beneficial impacts of seed treatment:
- Fungicide seed treatments active against the fungus Thielaviopsis produced a 65 percent increase in cotton stands in California compared to untreated cotton seed;
- Seed treatment insecticides applied to rice seed in Arkansas reduced damage from grape colapsis larvae by up to 83 percent;
- Yields of spring wheat and spring barley increased by 25 percent following the application of seed treatment, according to trials conducted at Montana State University;
- Neonicotinoid seed treatments more than doubled stands of sorghum in Louisiana research trials.
- Potential soil surface exposure is reduced by up to 90 percent compared to other application methods such as in-furrow applications or broadcast sprays;
- Seed treatment technology has improved from application of ounces per hundred weight of seed (cwt) to milligrams per individual seed.
- Through increased protection and greater crop yields, seed treatment helped contribute to nearly $80 billion worth of value to American corn growers in 2011;
- Seed varieties developed through modern breeding techniques, combined with effective seed treatments, provide nearly 100 percent crop stand – almost every seed produces a mature plant.
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