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Posted 15 September 2008. PMN Crop News.

SDSU Publication: Managing Crop Diseases with Seed Treatments

South Dakota State University.

Brookings, South Dakota (September 8, 2008)--Seed treatment fungicides of various crops can be useful tools for getting stands established and assuring seedling vigor, preserving yield potential and preventing quality losses.


A new publication from South Dakota State University has details.

SDSU Extension Fact Sheet 949, “Managing crop disease with seed treatments,” is available online at Or ask at your county Extension office.

The 20-page publication summarizes labels for the many seed treatment products that are available for corn, soybean, small grain, sunflowers and legumes.

“Seed treatments are a sensible investment to get crops started off on the right foot, or rather, root,” SDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Larry Osborne said. He added that they can be especially valuable in disease-prone soils and newly opened land, such as Conservation Reserve Program acres that are being returned to crop production.

Fungicidal seed treatments are used for three primary reasons:

• To manage soil-borne fungal diseases such as seed rots, damping-off, or seedling blights in many crops, as well as root rot complex, smuts, bunts, or downy mildews.

• To control pathogens which can contaminate the seed surface and cause diseases such as covered smut of barley and oats, bunt of wheat, safflower rust, and Ascochyta of legumes).

• To manage diseases caused by seed-borne fungi, such as loose smut of cereals.

Fungicide seed treatments are not effective against bacterial pathogens or in managing viral diseases, and most seed treatment products do not control all types of fungal pathogens.

SDSU Research/Extension Associate Kay Ruden said seed treatments are only one component necessary for effective disease management, and producers should also use crop rotation; residue and volunteer management; high quality, disease-free seed; careful variety selection; proper plant health management; and judicious use of plant protectant products such as herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides.

The publication was assembled by the SDSU Extension Plant Pathology project members Kay Ruden, Brad Ruden, and Larry Osborne. Consult the publication for more details.

Larry Osborne