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Seed Treatments Help Control Nematodes in Corn and Soybeans

Gil Gullickson 06/24/2011 @ 10:19am Crops Technology Editor for Successful Farming magazine/Agriculture.com

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.

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