Which seed treatments are likely to prove popular this autumn and why? Andrew Blake quizzed Farmers Weekly’s Barometer farmers to find out

South-west

Seed dressings are important at North Farm, Horton in Dorset – but not everywhere, says Peter Snell.

“We sow all our oilseed rape undressed. It’s home-saved, so costs very little and we never (touch wood) have flea beetle trouble.”

All wheat after rape gets Deter against slug hollowing. “Despite the additional cost it ensures good emergence.

“We use Latitude on second wheats against take-all. It’s more effective than a strob at T0.”

All cereals receive at least single-purpose dressing such as Redigo, which Mr Snell says balances quality and cost. Evict or Austral Plus is essential where wireworms are expected.

South

At East Lenham Farm near Maidstone in Kent, Andy Barr has moved away from farm-saved seed.

“We have limited labour and storage,” he explains. “But I’m considering having some again so I can treat seed with trace elements, seaweed and possibly Phosphite for a good start.

“The other important treatment is clothianidin. This gives me a chance to avoid spraying cypermethrin on autumn cereals. I understand Bayer’s new oilseed rape clothianidin treatment may help against turnip yellows virus.

“I will probably mainly have Redigo Deter plus manganese on wheat and Hypro Duet or Cruiser plus Chinook on rape. I’ve heard good reports of seedling vigour with Cruiser treatment.”

East

For Chris Moore at Fleet Farm, West Butterwick near Scunthorpe, seed treatments are increasingly important.

“With less labour and only a few spray days available, I use the best products available. I won’t compromise on costs.”

Wheat and barley need broad spectrum control from both seed- and soil-borne diseases and BYDV-bearing aphids, he says.

“For barley I use Raxil Pro and Deter, and for wheat Redigo Twin and Deter. On late-drilled wheat after beetroot I plan to use Austral Plus to control wheat bulb fly.”

West

“Seed treatments are vital, especially if sowing early,” says Andrew Blenkiron at Chillington Farm, Codsall Wood near Wolverhampton. “The economic return is fully justified.”

Raxil Pro protects winter barley against smut, and oilseed rape receives Chinook to combat flea beetle.

“For August and early-sown wheats I have used Sibutol Secur and Redigo Deter, but I’ve found the promise that Deter would help with pre-em slugs unfounded.”

However it did provide autumn-long aphid control and seemed to reduce gout fly damage last spring, he says.

Late September and October sees a switch to straight Redigo for broad-spectrum protection without aphid/slug cover. “I generally get onto these with the sprayer/pelleter once they have emerged.”

Midlands

Having chosen not to use Deter last year on his wheats at Thurlby Grange, near Bourne, Lincolnshire, Tony Reynolds says it’s a mistake he won’t repeat.

“We had much slug damage and we’ll never miss it again.”

This autumn will see all his wheats getting Redigo Deter with second crops also receiving Latitude against take-all.

“This year we intend having a trial area of second wheat without Latitude. The spores have to travel through the soil and we want to see if our undisturbed soil slows this.”

All his oilseed rape gets Chinook.

North

Ian Bird reckons he has tried most treatments at Catchgate Farm, Castle Eden near Hartlepool.

“For us the most important thing is getting the seed out of the ground as quickly as possible. So we don’t want any hold ups from the likes of Baytan. We’re not using Chinook on oilseed rape for that reason.”

All first wheat and barley will get a single-purpose dressing and Latitude will go on second crops on light land.

“Second and third wheats on heavy land will probably have Jockey. But is the huge cost worth it? We drilled 40 acres last year with no dressing so we’ll see if there’s any yield penalty.”

Northern Ireland

This autumn James Wray will begin using insecticide seed treatment on his cereals near Dungiven, Co Londonderry. The main reason is his drive to expand the area at the expense of pest-harbouring grass leys.

“We’ll use Redigo Deter on both wheat and barley. The Deter targets aphids, wireworms and slugs, and I hope it will buy me time at my busiest period.”

That involves lifting 100ha (250 acres) of potatoes. “I want to forget about the drilled crop until my workload reduces.”

Seed treatment active ingredients