The Prairie Giants Crop Report

Field observations at your fingertips

April 11, 2022

Taylor Kurtenbach

Seed Treating Cereals
As seeding quickly approaches, now is the time to start thinking about seed treating. Seed treatments are fungicide based and help to protect crops in the early stages against seed and soil borne diseases.
Seed treatment

So when should you use a seed treatment?

1. Tight crop rotations increase the risk for seedling diseases [1], particularly if you grow similar crop types successively [2].

2. Using farm saved seed, especially if the seed is old or has been previously infected [1]. Diseases such as alternaria, bunt, fusarium and smut can be seed-borne [1][2][3].

3. Poor growing conditions, like cool soil temperatures, can delay emergence giving diseases an opportunity to infect [2]. Early seeded cereals are a good idea to treat for this reason. If growing conditions at seeding are ideal, seed treatments may not be necessary [2]!

Soil and weather conditions at the time of seeding favours the development of specific diseases. The following chart is adapted from the Government of Manitoba [1] and Bayer Crop Science [4].

Common Diseases Favoured by Soil Conditions
Seedling diseases have varying impacts, depending on the disease, including head development (reduced number of heads, seed size and seeds per head), reduced stand establishment, delayed maturity, seed quality and loss of yield [3]. Using seed treatments can reduce the severity or control the disease completely.

At Prairie Giants Crop Supply, we offer four fungicide based cereal seed treatments including Insure Cereal FX4 (BASF), Raxil Pro (Bayer), Vibrance Quattro (Syngenta) and Rancona Trio (UPL). Each product is very comparable, and the choice of what to use often comes down to programming or grower preference. Seed treatments typically last two to three weeks post-seeding [1].
Seed Treatment and Disease Control in Wheat
Green = Control
Yellow = Suppression
*Adapted from the Manitoba Guide to Field Crop Protection 2021 [5] 
Seed treatments with an insecticide component are also available for fields where wireworms are an issue. These include Cruiser Vibrance Quattro (Syngenta), Raxil Pro Shield (Bayer), and Teraxxa F4 (BASF). Wireworms are the larval stage of click beetles; the larvae feed on seeds and seedlings below ground which results in reduced emergence and thin stands [6]. The damage can often be confused with poor quality seed, dry conditions, or fertilizer burn. Monitoring for these pests need to be done two to three weeks prior to seeding using bait balls [6]. The larval stage of wireworms can last anywhere from four to eleven years, so once they occur in a field, they must run their cycle. There are no chemical control options, but seed treatments can help to reduce damage [6].

Seed dressings, such as Active Prime, is another option when seed treating. These can be applied with other seed treatments or on its own. The main component of Active Prime is phosphorus in the form of P2O5 , but it also contains nitrogen, soluble potash, boron, iron, manganese, zinc, organic acids and biostimulants. Active Prime helps to improve germination, increase root growth as well as protecting seeds and seedlings from unfavourable weather conditions [7].

It is often difficult to attribute yield response to the application of a seed treatment, as there are many yield limiting factors that can occur between the time of seeding and harvest. Seed treatment get the crop off to the best possible start and is like a form of insurance. In studies done in North Dakota, seed treating wheat resulted in a 7.2% stand increase over the untreated check 73% of the time [1]. The increase in the stand can then help the crop to withstand other stressors throughout the season. As always, reach out to the crew at Prairie Giants with any questions!

Sources
[1] Government of Manitoba. Evaluating Seed Treatment Options in a Dry Year FAQs. [Online] Available: https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/seasonal-reports/pubs/seed-treatment-dry-spring.pdf
[2] Government of Alberta. Use of new seed treatments. [Online] Available: https://www.alberta.ca/use-of-new-seed-treatments.aspx
[3] Bailey, K.L., ed., Gossen, B.D., ed., Gugel, R.K., ed. And Morrall, R.A.A., ed. 2003. Diseases of Field Crops in Canada, 3 rd Edition. The Canadian Phytopathological Society.
[4] Bayer Crop Science. 7 Reasons to Treat. [Online] Available: http://www.cropscience.bayer.ca/en/Products/Seed-Treatments/SeedGrowth/Why-Treat-Your-Seed
[5] Government of Manitoba. 2021. Guide to Field Crop Protection 2021.
[6] Phillip, H. 2015. Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
[7] Taurus. Active Prime. [Online] Available: https://taurus.ag/product/active-prime/

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