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Crop protection starts with a seed treatment

Crop protection starts with a seed treatment

Crop protection starts with a seed treatment

The success or failure of a crop often comes down to the establishment of plant numbers. Seed treatments can play a critical role in helping grow a productive crop.

Ryegrasses sown after a summer crop – such as maize or brassica – may be vulnerable to attack from insects including grass grub, Argentine stem weevil and black beetle. As well, pathogens like pythium or fusarium can cause damping off disease depending on the location in New Zealand.

Superstrike seed treatments give four to six weeks of protection after sowing at a critical time in the life of a new plant. Seed treatment can improve seed germination, seedling emergence, plant vigour, stand establishment and total yield. Superstrike contains a small amount of zinc, molybdenum and manganese for early seedling establishment as well as a bird repellent. The treatment is film-coated, removing any build-up on the seed. Sow at the same rate as untreated seed, except where grass grub protection is required, using a minimum rate of 15 kg per ha.

A seed treatment works alongside novel endophytes protecting the plant until the endophytes are fully expressed in the plant at approximately four to six weeks. Superstrike is recommended for all spring and autumn grass plantings including ryegrass, fescues and cocksfoot.

Cereals also require protection at establishment from pests such as grass grubs and Argentine stem weevils. Cereal aphids can carry barley yellow dwarf virus which expresses later in the crop’s development and leads to yield losses.

Diseases, such as smuts and bunts, can be carried on the seed, so treatment helps hinder their development. Microdochium fungus, or snow mould as it is commonly known, is an infection on the seed and a type of fusarium. The disease develops over winter resulting in the plants being stunted, preventing them from tillering properly. Some plants die, while others go on to get head disease and develop blind seed heads.

Some seed treatments offer protection against soil rot diseases such as rhizoctonia and pythium. Ensure your selected treatment contains both an insecticide and a fungicide to give maximum protection during establishment.

Systiva treatment for barley and wheat is from the SDHI family and is systemic, giving long-term protection against seed-borne, soil-borne and foliar diseases. This treatment can be invaluable in wet areas where it may be difficult to winter spray. Systiva is effective against scald in barley (up to GS55) and carries a registration for protection against smuts, rusts and mildews in both wheat and barley. The plants have higher rates of germination and emergence enhanced coleoptile growth, a stronger root system and increased biomass.

Contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative for advice on the most appropriate seed treatment for your crops.