Beet growers to benefit from SDHI seed treatment

Sugar beet growers are set to benefit from a new seed treatment next spring, promising better rooting along with better control of costly seedling diseases.

Vibrance SB, from Syngenta, contains the new second-generation SDHI sedaxane, developed for seed treatment use, as well as fludioxonil and metalaxyl.

The treatment, which will be listed on British Sugar seed orders for the 2019 season, arrives just as beet growers lose another widely-used fungicide seed treatment.

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Syngenta field technical manager Georgina Wood highlighted that growers have become accustomed to controlling damping-off diseases through the routine use of a thiram seed treatment.

However, she warned that the regulatory withdrawal of that option for next year will leave crops exposed to severe losses.

Fortunately, the new SDHI-based seed treatment provides better control of key diseases rhizoctonia, pythium and phoma, responsible for damping-off in adverse conditions, she said.

“Where plants have previously emerged and then died off, losses have been typically attributed to slugs and pests, but could have been seedling disease,” she added.

Therefore, she believes having better control of damping-off diseases can lead to more consistent plant stands and, consequently, higher yields of consistently even roots at harvest.

BBRO head of science Mark Stevens believes seed treatment protection to get crops and developing roots up and away early is key to consistent establishment, and could have plant health benefits through the season.

“Growers have effectively suppressed seedling diseases for years with seed treatments,” he said.

“It remains crucial to maintain that historic control with new seed treatments if we want to avoid the build-up of problems over successive rotations.”