“A lot of growers say their biggest investment is their equipment, but I see it a little differently,” Scott Barr, SeedGrowth specialist at Bayer says, “I believe that putting good seed in the ground is every grower’s most important investment. Seed treatments are a large part of that. Even in drought years, we’re seeing over 5-bushel per acre differences between treated and untreated crops1. A farm with protected seed is a farm that’s set up for success.”

That’s where seed treatments like Raxil® PRO SHIELD come in. Available for barley, oat, and wheat seed, Raxil PRO SHIELD combines the early-season establishment and disease protection benefits of Raxil PRO with Stress Shield®, adding protection against wireworm and other seasonal stresses. Using Raxil PRO SHIELD is an inexpensive but highly effective way to protect seed and boost yields.

Over the past few seasons, Barr has noticed some growers straying away from seed treatments. He attributes much of this change to drought conditions in his local region of Northern Saskatchewan — however a seed treatment is a valuable addition even in warmer and drier conditions.

Proactive steps can lead to notable yields

“A seed test is one of the best ways to make sure you’re starting the season on the right foot. A seed test at a seed quality lab will help you get a better understanding of your seed. It will provide insight into the germination, vigour, and disease levels your seed is starting with. This information is key for building a strong crop protection strategy.”

If a seed test shows higher disease levels, applying a seed treatment like Raxil PRO SHIELD is critical for protecting maximum yield potential. Even if disease levels are relatively low, Raxil PRO SHIELD is an excellent way to protect seed from impacts from wireworms, soil-borne diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and weather-related stresses.

“A wireworm infection can cause crop losses of up to 50%2, so getting that extra protection that comes with a seed treatment can be the difference between an excellent yield and a disappointing one.”

Overhead shot showing an untreated wheat crop field in the spring Overhead shot showing a treated wheat crop field in the spring, displaying much more growth in comparison to the image of the untreated crop

Source: Bayer Internal Trial (photos taken June 17, 2023, Altona, MB). 26 days after planting, significant differences can be seen between untreated (left) and treated (right) crops. Your results may vary depending on agronomic, environmental, pest, and disease pressure variables.

A side-by-side trail conducted in Altona, Manitoba found that spring wheat treated with Raxil PRO SHIELD showed better germination, emergence, root system development, as well as larger biomass above the soil, and a denser plant stand when compared to untreated. This resulted in a 5-8 bushel per acre advantage.

Raxil PRO SHIELD is also a critical tool when combatting fusarium species and insect pressures.

Barr says, “Across the prairies, we know that fusarium levels in the soil have been getting higher. That means a higher risk of infected seed. If your seed is infected, your germination levels and plant stand will be lower. This can lead to increased weed pressure and ultimately lower yields.”

Applying a seed treatment like Raxil PRO SHIELD is a pivotal step in protecting your crop from fusarium species. The impact of fusarium can also go beyond a single season. Particularly for growers that have chosen to forgo a fungicide application, there is a risk of getting fusarium-infected seeds from the combine, which may later be planted, infecting the soil further.

This ‘nasty cycle,’ as Barr refers to it, is not exclusive to fusarium and can have long-lasting yield impacts.

Considerations when selecting a seed treatment

“Raxil PRO SHIELD stands out in a few ways,” according to Barr, “but one of the largest benefits is application. Thanks to its unique formulation and treated seed flowability, it’s very easy to work with. It applies well in cold or warm weather and wet or dry conditions. The seed treatment is specifically formulated for low viscosity even at fluctuating temperatures, which helps ensure you’re applying the right amount of product.”

Applying seed treatments at the right rate is pivotal. Underapplying can be thought of in the same way as applying a cut-rate herbicide — you will not be getting the full protection that comes with the product. On the other hand, overapplications can mean over-spending.

To make it easier to apply at the right rate, Raxil PRO SHIELD comes in a unique 125-litre bottom drain drum, which Barr helped develop. With the bottom drain drum, applying Raxil PRO SHIELD at the right rate can be simpler.

Barr says, “With a lot of drop tubes, there’s a risk of air leaks, which can affect application rates significantly. The bottom drain drum is excellent because, frankly, gravity doesn’t change. You can just hook it on, run it through your machine, and away you go. The seed treatment will consistently flow the way it’s supposed to. It makes for a clean, easy product to handle.

Local Bayer representatives, like Scott Barr, are experienced in optimizing application rates and are willing to help. To find your nearest Bayer representative or for more information, go to my.bayer.ca and sign up for your MyBayer account today.

“Hitting the sweet spot with an application is huge,” says Barr. “At Bayer, a lot of us come from a farming background, so we know how important it is to maximize your return on investment. If you need help with setting up your equipment to apply Raxil PRO SHIELD at the right level, reach out. We’re always happy to help.”

References:

  1. Bayer CropScience. Raxil PRO SHIELD vs Untreated Check, Altona, Manitoba. June 17, 2023.
  2. Bayer CropScience. Wireworms in Western Canada. Accessed Oct 25, 2023. Available at:
    https://www.cropscience.bayer.ca/en/articles/2021/wireworms-in-western-canada#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20larger%20and%20older%20larvae%20cause%20more%20damage.&text=Heavy%20wireworm%20damage%20is%20more,to%2050%25%20have%20been%20recorded.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Bayer, Bayer Cross and Raxil® are registered trademarks of Bayer Group. Used under license. Bayer CropScience Inc. is a member of CropLife Canada. ©2023 Bayer Group. All rights reserved.