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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Fight Seed- and Soil-Borne Diseases

You have two weapons at your disposal in the battle against seed and soil disease: seed testing and seed treatments. Employing these tactics together enables you to better detect disease present on your seed and to protect it from pathogens residing in the soil. The benefit is stronger emergence.

After harvest, it’s smart to get your seed tested at a seed lab if you’re going to use that seed next season. A scan for fungus will tell you which diseases are present on the seed as well as initial germination potential and vigour. A test for germination potential in the spring is a good idea as storage may have affected your seed.

When samples are graded at an elevator, the results aren’t telling enough. Why? Grading at the elevator is usually done visually and only indicates infection with visible changes to the seed. Meanwhile, lab tests can detect unseen disease. Remember, even when your seed test gives you the all-clear, it’s still a good idea to use a seed treatment to deal with potential pathogens in the soil.

As both seed- and soil-borne diseases pose risks, it’s worth taking this two-pronged approach. After all, you’re not just protecting your yield, you are protecting your investment.

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