Seed Treatment & Inoculant | UFA Cooperative Ltd.

Seed Treatment & Inoculant

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Tips from the Field

Getting crops off to a good start

Your best bet against Pea Leaf Weevil damage

Essential nutrients — Giving nature a hand

Liquid, granular or peat — The inoculant decision

Inoculant Handling & Storage

Getting crops off to a good start

Using effective seed treatments to control diseases and some insect pests that can devastate crop seedlings should be a given for all crops, to optimize value from crop inputs.

For a small cost, seed treatments can have a large impact getting the the crop seedlings off to the best start possible.The goal is to get plants growing without disease or pest challenges along with increased vigour so the young plants essentially hit the ground running.

“The goal is to achieve a healthy, vigorous, evenly emerging crop stand,” says Mitch Reid, UFA Product Strategy Manager,

Crop Protection Products. “If that crop gets off to the best start possible, then along with in-crop crop protection measures it’s going to have the best opportunity to grow into a high-yielding, even maturing, high-quality crop.”

Seed treatment is the first line of defence offering the best chance for survival. With improved research and new technology, seed treatments can offer multi-levels of protection — protection against seed- and soil-borne diseases help to kick start plant growth.

Mitch on right in photo above, chatting with Kyle Gross - Bayer Sales Manager, Southern Alberta

“If you look at the investment producers are making in seed costs, whether they are using certified or even bin-run seed, seed treatments make sense.”

Mitch Reid

UFA Product Strategy Manager, Crop Protection Products.

Research and farmer experience alike over the years has demonstrated a consistent return on investment by treating cereal, oilseed and pulse crop seeds against seed-and soil-borne diseases as well as crop pests such as wire worm and pea leaf weevils, says Reid. “If you look at the investment producers are making in seed costs, whether they are using certified or even bin-run seed, seed treatments make sense.”

Improvements in seed genetics, changes in farming practices and greater variances in weather are all factors that impact the importance of treating seed, he adds.

Higher yielding, higher performing crop varieties are facing more challenges from diseases such as fusarium, aphanomyces and pythium, to name a few. Along with that, pests such as wire worm, cutworms, flea beetles and pea leaf weevil appear to be expanding in their range and intensity.

“The goal is to achieve a healthy, vigorous, evenly emerging crop stand, If that crop gets off to the best start possible, then along with in-crop crop protection measures it’s going to have the best opportunity to grow into a high-yielding, even maturing, high-quality crop.”

Mitch Reid

UFA Product Strategy Manager, Crop Protection Products.

Not every crop is going to face all challenges every year, but the frequency is increasing. Ongoing plant breeding has made significant strides in improving crop resistance to a wide range of disease, insect and environmental challenges, but the perfect bullet-proof crop has yet to be developed.

Seed treatments have improved in their use, efficacy and scope over the years. Easy-to-apply products providing broad-spectrum control, using multiple modes of action can help protect germinating plants in those critical first days or first two to three weeks of stand establishment.

Your best bet against Pea Leaf Weevil damage

Being able to forecast pea leaf weevil winter survivorship may be an important clue in forecasting the degree of pressure the pest will place on legume and pulse crops during the growing season.

Pest numbers were down and crop damage levels were reduced during the 2018 growing season, says Hector Carcamo, a researcher with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge. That doesn’t mean the pest is disappearing, he says. It just indicates that a longer winter and a later cool wet spring may reduce pest numbers or degree of crop damage the following growing season.

“Using recommended seed treatments is still the best approach to protect crops from pea leaf weevil damage,” says Carcamo. “But farmers are always asking if there is a way to forecast the risk of crop damage during the coming growing season to decide if they need the seed treatment.”

“Using recommended seed treatments is still the best approach to protect crops from pea leaf weevil damage, but farmers are always asking if there is a way to forecast the risk of crop damage during the coming growing season to decide if they need the seed treatment.”

Hector Carcamo

Researcher, Agriculture and Agr-Food Canada

Looking at the 2017-18 winter, Carcamo says the pest appears to have had difficulty surviving the longer winter, and with many crops delayed due to a later spring and later seeding, that may have placed susceptible crops out of sync with the weevil’s growth cycle.

Carcamo says the impact of the weevil is being studied on several fronts. One ongoing study on feeding habits of the weevil indicate very early in the spring it does quite well feeding on alfalfa, but as soon as the pest begins its reproductive cycle it prefers to move into newly emerging and growing pea and faba bean crops. While early in the season the weevil can decimate alfalfa seedlings, at the same time it has little or no interest on feeding on chickpea and lentil crops.

“Using one of the recommended seed treatment products is the best approach to control the pest,” says Carcamo. He says while adult weevils feeding on plant leaves catch producer attention, the more serious damage is caused by weevil larvae feeding on the plant roots.

Top: Crop damage from a pea leaf weevil.

Photo courtesy of Syngenta

Right: Pea leaf weevil captured in a sweep net.

“Using one of the recommended seed treatment products is the best approach to control the pest,”

Hector Carcamo

Researcher, Agriculture and Agr-Food Canada

The larvae feed on the nitrogen-fixing nodes on the roots, which in turn reduces or prevents the plant from fixing nitrogen.

“A few adults on the leaves, perhaps causing even 15 to 20 per cent damage isn’t a concern,” says Carcamo. “The crop can recover from that, but it’s the larvae that need to be controlled.”

Carcamo says there are a number of seed treatment products registered. And depending on conditions and pest pressure, they may not control all larvae, but numbers will be reduced and also the seed treatment will reduce the number of eggs laid by the adults.

Essential nutrients — Giving nature a hand

Amplify® when applied to cereal, oilseed or pulse crop seed will give nature a hand in getting crops growing and out of the ground with good health and vigour.

The seed nutrient dressing — there is a formulation of Amplify for each crop species — is designed to be particularly effective in helping crops deal with adverse growing conditions.

“It is particularly effective under cool wet growing conditions at seeding and crop emergence time,” says Bruce Kemmere, a Customer Account Manager (CAM) based in Olds, AB. “Producers are finding seed treated with Amplify gets out of the ground sooner with more even germination. It helps the plants develop bigger and longer roots and as the season progresses that should translate into a more robust crop, with higher yields and more even maturity.”

Source: Strip trials managed and harvested by AgCall for UFA

Amplify seed treatment developed by ATP Nutrition is “cold start technology” says Jarrett Chambers, ATP president. “Crop seeds have a natural nutrient imbalance, which Amplify works to correct.”

The Amplify treatment applies zinc, manganese and phosphorus to the seed coat, making it readily available to the seed as it germinates. Depending on the crop, with canola for example, boron may be added to the treatment as well.

“Amplify is particularly effective under cool wet growing conditions just at seeding and crop emergence time.”

Bruce Kemmere

Customer Account Manager (CAM), Olds, AB

Amplify works to provide plant roots with almost immediate access to fertility. There is little or no lag time waiting for roots to develop and reach soil nutrients. Early access to nutrients and improved root development help makes the plant more efficient and healthier and better able to withstand stress during the growing season.

Amplify is fully compatible with other seed treatment products.

Liquid, granular or peat — The inoculant decision

All formulations of pulse crop inoculants work and can be quite effective in helping peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas and other pulses fix nitrogen in the soil. The real decision to be made is which formulation works best for your management level.

“The question to be answered is which one works best for you and what you can handle,” says Charlotte Hannotte, a CAM based in Grande Prairie, AB. “All formulations are good, but each comes with management considerations.”

Pulse crop seeds need to be treated with or have access to a Rhizobium bacteria that, once in the soil, works with the plant roots to capture nitrogen which will help the plant grow. Rhizobium inoculants come in three formulations — a dry peat-based product that needs some water added so it sticks to the pulse crop seed, a liquid inoculant which is applied directly to the seed and a granular inoculant usually carried in a second or third tank on the air seeding system and placed in the seed row. All work well in delivering the Rhizobium bacteria to the crop, with a few qualifiers.

“The question to be answered is which one works best for you and what you can handle, all formulations are good, but each comes with management considerations.”

Charlotte Hannotte

Customer Account Manager (CAM), Grande Prairie, AB

Aside from formulation, first match the correct inoculant to the pulse crop. Each pulse crop responds to a difference strain of rhizobium (i.e.) Rhizobium leguminosarum for peas and lentils, Mesorhizobium ciceri for chickpea and Bradyrhizobium japonicum for soybeans.

“The liquid and the peat-based inoculants need to be properly applied,” says Hannotte. “For the inoculant to be effective it needs to be evenly distributed over the seed coat. So the first question I might ask a producer is if they have equipment to properly apply a liquid product?”

With peat products, some producers mix the inoculant with water to form a slurry, Others have sprayed the seed batch with water so the dry inoculant adheres to the seed as it mixes in the auger as seed is being loaded into the seed truck or air seeding tank.

“The key with whatever system being used is to ensure sufficient and even coverage over the seed,” says Hannotte. Since the Rhizobium bacteria is living material, the other qualifier with the liquid inoculant is a fairly narrow window of application before seeding. It will survive a few hours on the seed before planting, but treated seed shouldn’t be left over night, for example.

“The key with whatever system being used is to ensure sufficient and even coverage over the seed.”

Charlotte Hannotte

Customer Account Manager (CAM), Grande Prairie, AB

The granular inoculant is often considered the most simple to use. The product has a shelf life over the seeding season, but it does require a seeding system with either that second or third tank that will place the inoculant with the seed.

All inoculant products need to be properly handled and stored before use to protect the survival of the Rhizobium bacteria — avoid storing in extreme hot or cold temperatures.

“The cost difference between the products isn’t a huge consideration,” says Hannotte. “It really depends on which formulation works best with your management.”

Inoculant Handling & Storage

Best practices:
Storage

Inoculants are living organisms. Handle and store with care.

Do

  • Keep cool, but not freezing (0 to 20°C)
  • Store in a dry environment

Don’t

  • Store next to pesticides and bulk fertilizers
  • Store in direct sunlight and drying winds
  • Double stack granular inoculants

All living things come to an end

  • Use before expiration date
Equipment

Equipment check.

  • Have a separate tank for inoculants
  • Regularly inspect hoses and fittings for cracks and broken parts
  • Calibrate for accurate metering
  • Run fans to dry out tank before adding inoculants

Know your limits.

  • Fill no more than half the tank
  • Run auger at 50% capacity or less
  • Don’t leave mixture in tank overnight
Application

Some things just don’t mix.

  • Like caustic fertilizers
  • Or certain seed treatments

Avoid soil conditions that are:

  • Very acidic
  • Very dry
  • Low in organics

Use it. Don’t lose it.

  • Seed soon after inoculation
  • Re-inoculate if past planting time

Source: BASF Canada Inc.

Seed Treatment

Protect your investment. Seed treatments can have a large impact on helping protect seeds, shoots and roots from early-season disease and insect pests. We have a wide range of premium cereal and pulse seed treatments that are right for you and your growing conditions to help get your crops off to a strong start.

Cereal

Pulse

Inoculant

Pulse crop inoculants help your plants form ample root nodules as they grow.Whether your management plan is liquid, granular or peat, we can supply the right product for your crop and ensure seed treatment compatibility.

2019 Seed Treatment & Inoculant Guide

Our Seed Treatment & Inoculant Guide will help you navigate through various treatment options available for your seed and soil. Straight-forward product comparison charts, best practices and expert advice will help pay out in bigger, better quality yields.

Talk With Us

Our Customer Account Managers (CAMs) know your local conditions and understand what will work for your operation. They can help make the right choices when looking for the top yielding hybrids with the disease packages, maturity ratings and quality characteristics you need for your farm.

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