Wheat School: To treat or not to treat seed

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Wheat seed placed in a furrow across a field spells possibility to a farmer, but to diseases that lurk in the soil, wheat seed is food, not a potential crop.

Using untreated wheat seed means that each seed could be vulnerable to seed- and/or soil-borne diseases, explains Shad Milligan, Seedcare technical lead for Syngenta Canada.

Depending on seeding conditions, wheat seed may fall prey to pythium, rhizoctonia and fusarium species. Very early seeding in to cold soil, very wet conditions, or even warm and wet soil all present unique challenges for a wheat seed to germinate, emerge, and get started building yield potential.

Milligan says, in the Wheat School below, that a test of the seed source is the first step in deciding for or against a seed treatment, as seed-borne diseases may also be a factor. Field history is key, too, as we’re learning that some soil-borne disease aren’t host-specific, either.

For those weighing the cost of a seed treatment (especially in a year with lower commodity prices), Milligan says that seed is the most important factor in achieving a competitive stand — with is vital to realizing the full yield potential any given year.

Check out more Wheat School episodes, here!

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Wheat School (view all)Season 15 (2024) Episode 2

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