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Seed Treatments Help Control Nematodes in Corn and Soybeans

There’s an old gardening saying
that states:

"One for blackbird, one for
the crow, one for the cutworm, and one to grow."


If you applied that to farming,
you’d be bankrupt before year’s end. That’s particularly true in light of
rising seed costs for seed offering high-yield genetics and trait protection.

“It make a lot of sense for growers
to protect that high value with a seed treatment,” says Keith Vodrazka, product
manager, marketing and portfolio management for Bayer CropScience.

Vodrazka and other Bayer officials
stopped by our office this week to update us on Bayer seed treatments.


More soybeans are being treated

It’s been common for farmers to
plant treated corn seed. What has changed, though, are soybeans treated with an
insecticide and fungicide.
Soybean
treatment use has risen from 25% in 2006 to 60% in 2010.

There’s a newcomer to seed
treatment products—nematode control. Bayer has launched a product called
Poncho/Votivo labeled for both corn and soybeans that curbs early-season fungal
diseases, early-season insects, and nematodes.

“We see nematodes as a major
issue,” says Vodrazka. “The main one out there is soybean cyst nematode, which
does $1 billion a year in damage to soybeans yearly.”

Nematodes also adversely impact
corn, too. Damage varies according to species. Needle and sting nematodes,
which can exist only in soils with at least 70% sand, have an economic damage
threshold of as few as one per half-cup of
soil.


Biological Treatment

The nematode control portion
of Poncho/Votivo is a biological product. Bacterial spores coated on the seed germinate and
protect roots from nematodes by forming a protective barrier. It doesn’t
directly kill nematodes, but renders many of them ineffective.

Poncho/Votivo can provide up
to 60 days protection from SCN. However,

Bayer officials note that the
nematode protection component of Poncho/Votivo doesn’t sub for SCN-resistant
soybean varieties.

“It can supplement those
varieties, but is not a replacement,” says Vodrazka.

Bayer officials say in over 100
trials over the past year,
Poncho/Votivo-treated
soybeans outyielded Bayer’s Trilex 6000 Soybean system by 1 to 1.5 bushels per
acre. Trilex 6000 treated soybeans in turn have outyielded untreated soybeans
in trials by an average 4 to 6 bushels per acre.

In
corn, Bayer officials say Poncho/Votivo show a 6 to 8 bushel per acre yield edge
when compared to Bayer’s Poncho 250 insecticide seed treatment. That’s across
423 U.S. trials from 2008 to 2010.

On-Demand seed treatment
system

Bayer
officials discussed its new On Demand seed treatment system. Its features
include computerized control, inventory management, and comprehensive reporting
for retailers and seed dealers.

Chemicals
in different containers are applied to the seed by computerized control. “It is
a preloaded recipe from the seed company,” says Jaco Van Der Westhuizen,
strategic equipment marketing lead for Bayer CropScience.

Treatment information also can be integrated into the precision farming systems of farmers, he adds.

 

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