Avoid treating seed as ‘routine’

CEREAL GROWERS should think twice before applying seed treatments to farm saved seed, the Home Grown Cereals Authority has advised.

Testing samples to ensure seed is healthy could remove the need for treating it and provide potential cost savings, said the HGCA’s director of research, Graham Jellis.

“You don’t have to routinely treat seed, but if you don’t, you need to get it tested before sowing.”

Some believe that not using a treatment against seed-borne diseases could still leave crops at risk from soil-borne infections, added HGCA’s Clive Edwards.

“But this is not so – if the disease is soil-borne, a treatment against seed-borne disease won’t have much of an effect anyway.

“If you’re buying in seed, more often than not it will be offered as treated, but you don’t have to go for it,” he said.

Growers testing seed before deciding whether to treat it should ensure they take care when sampling to ensure it is representative of the whole seed lot, he advised.

If a chemical treatment is to be used, growers should be aware that there are several new products available this season and a summary of these options is available at www.hgca.com

Several products also have efficacy against ergot, noted Mr Edwards. While this may not be stated on the label, it is worth considering if you are using a seed treatment, he concluded.

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