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Farm Forum

Just a reminder of the Crop and Livestock Workshop at the Jones County Courthouse in Murdo, beginning at 1 p.m., Friday, March 1. In addition to the topics mentioned in last weeks’ column, plans are to also address management strategies to deal with cropland that has been damaged by fire. Call Bob Fanning at 842-1267 for more information.

Fungicide Seed Treatments for Spring Wheat

Fungicide seed treatments are used when planting many agricultural crops and are helpful in promoting stand establishment and seedling vigor. Seed treatments also help preserve yield There are many pathogens found in the soil which cause seedling diseases and contribute to the root/crown rot complex in wheat. The root/crown rot complex can include one or more of the diseases, Common Root Rot, Fusarium Root Rot, Take-All, Rhizoctonia Root Rot, and Pythium Root Rot. These pathogens are always present in the soil at some level, waiting to take advantage of slow germination, slow early development, and unfavorable environment for wheat seedlings. These pathogens have similar symptoms and can cause poor overall health and vigor of the plant. These diseases often result in thin, uneven stands, spindly stalks, small spikes, empty/white heads, stunted plants, weak early growth, yellowing of foliage, and reduced yield and quality.

The primary recommendation to avoid the effects of the root/crown rot complex is a diverse crop rotation which includes one or more broadleaf crops. The proper choice of fungicide seed treatments can also help protect the young seedlings and get them off to a good start.

Loose Smut and Common Bunt (also known as stinking smut) appear in some wheat fields every year. These are two pathogens for which proper fungicide seed treatments are very effective. It is strongly believed that Loose Smut and Common Bunt could be virtually eliminated if all wheat producers used recommended seed treatments.

In general, seed treatments: aid in managing the biotic stresses, are effective only days to weeks (although new chemistry is promising longer periods of protection), are used as the principal insurance against pests, and help the seed and seedlings make it to the stage when they can make their own energy (get the seed up and out of the ground).

Utilizing a seed treatment builds the foundation for a healthy plant. Healthy roots are the first step to building the yield potential you desire. Without that strong base, your yield potential is limited from the start and all other inputs become less valuable. Healthy seedling development promotes good stands and greater yield potential.

Seed treatment has been and continues to be a very economic and effective disease management tool in South Dakota wheat production. To see the complete list of Seed Treatment products available check out “Managing Crop Diseases with Seed Treatments”:

resources/03-3001-2012.pdf. “Seed Treatment Fungicide Options for Wheat In South Dakota”: