Seed treatments continue to be a hot market in the crop protection business. Growers are buying products offering increased disease and insect packages to protect high-priced seed and to help ensure top yields.

 “The market for seed treatments is really taking hold,” says Palle Pedersen, technical crop manager for Syngenta Seedcare. “We know the yield benefits to early planting. But with early planting there are early stresses that can impact yield. Seed treatments help battle those early disease and insect stresses. And farmers are demanding new combinations that help get them better yields.”

Crop protection companies have responded with an impressive lineup of new products.

 

Bayer CropScience

Bayer’s Poncho/Votivo seed treatment, which received registration from the EPA for use in corn and soybeans last spring, combines Poncho 500 with the company’s Votivo seed treatment. Votivo is a specific bacteria strain that colonizes roots upon germination and creates a biological barrier of protection against nematodes. It provides protection to withstand early season nematode feeding and is effective against all major plant-parasitic nematodes, including lance, lesion, needle, root-knot and soybean cyst nematodes.

Stratego YLD is a triazole fungicide for long-lasting disease protection in corn and soybeans. It offers two different modes of action for broad-spectrum control. Stratego YLD’s water-based SC formulation is compatible with most crop protection products, including herbicides, insecticides and adjuvants. Application in corn is recommended from VT (tasseling) to early R2 (blister). For soybeans, application is recommended at early flowering (R1) to full pod (R4) and prior to disease onset. Use rates range from 4 to 5 oz./acre in corn and 4 to 4.65 oz./acre in soybeans.

Bayer has finalized a licensing agreement with Heads Up Plant Protectants for access to Heads Up seed treatment. Heads Up contains a naturally occurring substance extracted from Chenopodium species. When applied to soybean seed, Heads Up triggers the crops’ defense systems against diseases upon germination. When used with seed-applied fungicides, Heads Up brings an additional mode of action to protect young soybeans from soil diseases that are present in the environment when soybeans are traditionally planted.

 

Syngenta

Syngenta Seedcare has increased its portfolio of seed treatments for both corn and soybeans for 2011.

Maxim Quattro seed treatment fungicide is a four-way formulation that combines mefenoxam, fludioxonil and azoxystrobin with thiabendazole, an active ingredient newly registered as a seed treatment on corn. The fourth mode is systemic and cleans up surface and internal pathogens. Maxim Quattro guards against seed- and soilborne diseases, including a broad spectrum of Fusarium species, to help decrease mycotoxin levels. It will be sold as a component of Avicta Complete Corn nematicide/insectidice/fungicide or CruiserMaxx 250 Corn insecticide/fungicide.

“With thiabendazole we are moving our corn fungicide package up to an even higher level,” Pedersen says. “It is a great product for seedborne diseases and provides broad-spectrum control.”

CruiserMaxx Plus insecticide/fungicide seed treatment is a new formulation for use on soybeans. It combines Cruiser insecticide with Maxim and Apron XL fungicide at a higher rate of mefenoxam for increased protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. It provides protection against a broad spectrum of soil-dwelling and foliar-feeding insect pests, as well as all major seed- and soilborne disease pathogens.

Avicta 500 FS nematicide has been approved for use on soybeans and will be available in a combination called Avicta Complete Beans. This combination includes the separately registered Cruiser seed treatment insecticide and an ApronMaxx seed treatment fungicide. Avicta Complete Beans seed treatment provides protection against all major nematode species, including cyst nematodes, and a broad spectrum of early season insects and diseases.

Avicta Duo Corn and Avicta 500FS are restricted use pesticides.

 

BASF

Stamina F3 HL fungicide seed treatment is now available for use on corn, sorghum, and oats, in addition to wheat, which was previously approved. It contains F500, the same active ingredient in Headline fungicide. The new label for Stamina F3 HL also recognizes the product’s ability to improve seedling performance (more rapid and increased emergence) in certain cold weather conditions.

“Seed treatments are an important part of best management practices for growers,” says Chris Exton, marketing manager for seed treatments at BASF. “Stamina F3 HL protects seedlings from disease and is proven to help give crops a strong start even in cold growing conditions.”

 

Stoller USA

Bio-Forge ST is a new concentrated formulation of the company’s seed treatment. The application rate is reduced by ½ to 2 oz./cwt of seed. It is designed for even seed coverage and ease of application through the seed treater and is compatible with other standard seed treatment chemicals. Bio-Forge ST enhances seed germination, ensures early root growth and reduces early season stresses.

 “Our customers are sold on the ROI [return on investment] that Bio-Forge offers; it’s a way for them to protect their seed investment,” says Jeff Morgan, marketing director for Stoller. “But they were looking for a more concentrated formulation of Bio-Forge to address the concerns inherent with seed treating. We were able to pivot quickly and give them a better tool to do that with Bio-Forge ST.”