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Why Seed Enhancements Are Important

A grower uses many inputs on his farm — fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides are all key tools in a farmer’s arsenal. However, seed remains the most important input of them all. It’s where a farmer’s livelihood begins, and it deserves the utmost care and consideration.

The creation and marketing of the first seed treatment products took place in the 1970s. The first such products were a far cry from those on the market today. At the time, five main products were used as seed treatments: captan, thiram, manab, pentachloronitrobenzene (PCMB), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB).

Seed companies had to put these products on the seed to help it perform well in the field in order to be competitive. It was dirty, messy and every dollar they spent on seed treatment was a dollar less profit they made for that year. All that changed with the introduction of imidacloprid in 1991, a value-added product that served to replace granular insecticides.

Seed treatments and enhancements are now more accurate, cleaner, and of higher quality in terms of uniformity of the final product. The grower benefits by having the best quality product on the seed, protecting his most important input.

Seed treatments have made headlines in recent years due to concerns over pollinator health. These concerns stem from the use of neonicotinoid insecticides often used as a seed treatment. While exposure to these insecticides can indeed harm pollinators, research has shown the effects are minimal when compared to other threats such as colder winters and pests like the Varroa mite.

Seed lubricants are also being improved over time with pollinator health in mind. Bayer’s Fluency Agent is now used extensively to lubricate treated seed, thereby preventing dust-off during seeding and minimize pollinator exposure to neonicotinoids even further.

Stoller Enterprises offers a seed enhancement that can be incorporated into a grower’s seed treatment regime to aid in the health of their crop and help attain the best plant health and highest yields possible.

When applied to seed, Bio-Forge works by up-regulating genes from the plant’s own major anti-oxidative pathways as well as genes responsible for ethylene production and root growth. It has been shown to improve the balance of plant hormones by up-regulating the four enzymes known to protect the plant from damaging free oxygen radicals. Damaging radicals occur in response to drought stress, nutrient deficiencies, herbicide/pesticide injuries, and extreme temperatures.

Seed treatment is a form of insurance. Planting seed without it means a farmer opens his crop up to numerous risks like disease and pest threats, which can be mitigated with the use of an appropriate seed treatment.