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Friday, 12 January 2018 13:04

Treating seeds

Poor preparation and application were to blame for many grain growers achieving suboptimal results with on-farm seed treatments used to protect seed grain and crops against pest and disease attack.

This is the message from Western Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation grain storage extension team member Ben White, who said that with all grain storage, preparation is the key to optimal results.
“Unfortunately we find that where treatments have failed, seed treatments have not been used well,” he said.
“Common mistakes include treating seed that contains too much admix or poor product application methods.”
White said if growers were considering the use of a seed treatment before on-farm storage, there are some simple steps that can be taken to protect the grain in storage, optimising germination results and crop vigour for next season.
“Most importantly, if growers don’t have a gas-tight sealable silo meeting the Australian standard 2628-(2010), then consideration should be given to using a seed treatment with an insecticide component to protect seeds from insect attack while in storage,” he said.
“Stand alone insecticide seed treatments compatible to mix with most desired fungicide packages are also available.
“One of the main causes of seed germination failure is seed being damaged by insects during storage.
“Seed treatments should only be applied to clean seed, as excessive admix, or impurities like chaff and dust, contribute to poor product coverage. 
“If excessive admix is present, have the seed cleaned before treatment. 
“There are reputable professional services that will clean and treat your seed for you and, if unsure, it may be best to use these services.”
The level of moisture in the seed is another important consideration, according to White.
“Monitor moisture content at harvest and plan to stay well below 12 per cent,” he said.
“Seed treatments can also add between 0.5 and 1.5 per cent to moisture levels, depending on the application rate and water mix applied.”
The method of application is the most important factor in achieving good results from seed treatment use.  
“Before starting, measure the grain flow rate through the auger, as well as the flow-rate of the pump applying the seed treatment,” White said.
“Adjust auger flow rate or seed treatment flow to match the desired application rate.
“Two spray nozzles spaced about one metre apart into the auger barrel typically deliver satisfactory and uniform coverage. 
“If unsure, check with seed treatment supplier, as there are often useful resources and tips available to help achieve the best results with the product.”

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