Wheat School: Best management practices to get the most out of seed treatments


Inputs play an important role agronomically, but they can also be a significant cost to any operation. Getting the most out of each dollar is important.

One of the first input costs after seed itself is spent on seed treatments. Shad Milligan of Syngenta Canada joined the latest episode of the Wheat School to discuss best management practices to get the most out of seed treatments.

One of the ways to get the most out of seed treatments, says Milligan, is to first consider seeding timing.

“If you’re putting your seed treatment into really cold soils, where soil biology hasn’t started yet, the seed is going to sit there for quite some time. And that treatment starts to work when you put that plant into the ground,” he explains, adding that you are better off to wait until the soil is a bit warmer from a protection perspective, and the environmental conditions are better suited for seed germination and seed growth.

Seed treatments tend to last around four weeks. After that, protection begins to wane as the active ingredient(s) are metabolized by the plant.

When looking at things from an agronomic risk management standpoint, it becomes a calculated decision on when to seed, Milligan says. Understandably, there’s going to be other factors affecting that decision, but if we’re looking strictly at getting the most out of our seed treatments, the warmer the soil, the better, he says.

For full value, whether in a commercial or on-farm treating scenario, actual treatment storage and process of application matters, as well.

“Having the seed treatment warm at all times is a very, very important factor for treating for uniform application. It’s as easy as taking [the treatment] inside and keeping it overnight in a warm area, versus leaving it outside. Because even looking at the temperatures over the past couple of weeks, we’re seeing colder, overnight temperatures. And that makes a big difference when it comes to the viscosity of the seed treatment in the morning,” says Milligan.

When it comes to the treating seed from storage, it’s important not to treat frozen seed.

“Most seed treatments have built in anti-freezes and things like that. But when you’re hitting that cold seed, it makes a big difference on the contact of the seed and seed treatments. You don’t want that flash freeze, because what will happen is you won’t have the seed treatment adhering to the seed.”

Check out the full conversation with Shad Milligan below:

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Wheat School (view all)Season 14 (2023) Episode 21

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