Key Issues Perspective: Seed treatment's combination value
It is the combination of thorough coverage of seeds with the right fungicides and insecticides that results in healthy vigorous seedlings and early plant health.
“When we talk to a customer about seed treatment options, we are talking plant health, disease protection and insect protection so that the plant has the opportunity, based on whatever the environment will allow, to produce the most grain that it can produce,” said Bruce Blume, owner of Blume Seeds, Inc. at Redfield, S.D.
A healthy root system is a major concern year after year because of soil diseases that fungicides control, but insecticides play a role, too, even if there aren’t major infestations of insects.
“One of the primary purposes of seed treatment is to protect against early-season diseases and insects, but in addition to that, most of the fungicides that we use in seed treatment and all the insecticides Bayer CropScience recommends for seed treatments are systemic,” said Mike Reed, Bayer CropScience technical service representative, located in Noblesville, Ind. “They do have a certain vigor enhancement effect. It is something that is hard to define scientifically, but it is something we see year after year after year in side-by-side comparisons. These products under crop stress conditions increase the early-season vigor of the plant. They also increase stand with more survivability of the seedling, and that stand will be more uniform and more vigorous with better color and overall plant health. Growers report witnessing the effect, but it is not something that is claimed on a label.”
Seed treatment products are being applied to soybeans through an On Demand seed treatment system. The precision treated soybeans will promote seedling health and protect seedlings from disease and early-season insects. Blume has been treating seed beans with Bayer CropScience products for the past 12 years, and he recognized from day one that seed coverage is key to seeing the benefits that seed treatment insecticides and fungicides can provide.
This year Blume installed the new On Demand seed treatment system from Bayer CropScience. The computerized system has impressed him with its accuracy in treating every seed equally with just the right amount of product. Additionally, the total volume of product used is controlled to an exact level so that every ounce of product goes onto the seed and earns him income without any waste.
“We ran 20,000 units through this system, and we were within one-quarter percent of being 100 percent accurate in projected product that would be needed. And each seed got the correct amount of product on it,” Blume said.