(Note: The following article is a slightly edited transcript of a short K-State Research and Extension YouTube video produced by Dan Donnert, KSRE videographer. The link to this video is: https://youtu.be/SlaIuMAK53Q – Steve Watson, Agronomy eUpdate Editor)

During the last decade or so we saw a little higher commodity prices, and that stimulated some interest in fungicide seed treatments. As commodity prices have gone down again, people are starting to question whether they really need to do this or not. If you’re not interested in using a fungicide seed treatment on all your wheat, then I would set priorities.

For grain production, one of the higher priorities would be wheat that you’re planning to bring onto your farm as new varieties that you’ll be saving for your own seed.

There are a number of different seed-borne diseases that we might be concerned about. Some of them are just seed-borne, while some may also have a very loose association with soil-borne factors. One such disease is common bunt, which is sometimes called stinking smut because of the strong fishy odor that fungus is able to produce on contaminated grain. Another one might be loose smut. And last year we had flag smut, a disease that re-emerged after a long break of more than 30 years.

All three of those diseases would be primarily seed-borne only diseases and targets for a fungicide seed treatment.

We might also consider fungicide seed treatments for controlling diseases like Fusarium. This disease, which can be seed-borne and come in on seed lots that were infected by Fusarium head blight in the previous year. The seed-borne phase of the Fusarium fungus can affect germination of the seed lot. It can also cause damping off or seedling blight type of diseases in which the seedlings contract the disease and collapse and die before they even emerge in many cases.