Home 5 Ag Stories The case for seed treatments this year

The case for seed treatments this year

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This spring season is cold and most Iowa fields are wet right now.

The acting state climatologist says last week was 16 to 19 degrees below average, with freezing temperatures every night. Today, we talk about planting expensive and vulnerable seed into such conditions.

Seed treatments have been coming to market, in the past few years, with promise to allow sprouting and emerging without being damaged by soil pests. As with anything, it is more complicated than the advertising says. A look at seed treatments and how they help protect the plant in the program below.

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Farmers are very interested in getting the best return possible on all their input investments including fertilizer, crop protection and seed treatments, especially with current commodity prices. Protecting crops from disease and insects is a major concern for farmers.

Travis Palmquist, seed improvement specialist with West Central Distribution, discusses the difference between systemic and contact seed treatments, and how each helps protect the plant.

“A contact seed treatment provides a protective zone around a seed or seedling. It’s the first line of defense in a seed treatment formulation,” Palmquist said. “A systemic seed treatment on the other hand is absorbed by the plant and moves readily throughout it. Systemic pesticides generally have longer residual and can give additional protection for diseases that appear a little later in the season.”

Palmquist explains why seed treatments are an important investment and why they should be part of a farmer’s crop management plan this year.

“An investment in seed treatments, as part of a strong crop management plan, can help farmers achieve the higher yields they strive to produce each growing season and provide a good return on investment,” Palmquist said. “Some pests attack the seed or seedling before they have even had a chance to develop, negatively influencing the crop’s progress throughout the growing season and impacting yield at harvest. Seed treatments play a critical role in protecting seedlings against diseases and insect pressures from the moment they are planted.”