So when should you use a seed treatment?
1. Tight crop rotations increase the risk for seedling diseases , particularly if you grow similar crop types successively .
2. Using farm saved seed, especially if the seed is old or has been previously infected . Diseases such as alternaria, bunt, fusarium and smut can be seed-borne .
3. Poor growing conditions, like cool soil temperatures, can delay emergence giving diseases an opportunity to infect . 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 !
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  and Bayer Crop Science .
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 .
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 . 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!
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