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The Yield Equation: Where Do Seed Treatments Fit?

Sep 06, 2019

This year’s challenging planting season showed the value that seed treatments have in protecting yield potential. As corn began to tassel this summer, you could really start to see how differences in plant emergence and early-season vigor affected the development of the crop. As you prepare for next season’s seed purchases, be sure you know what’s included in the seed treatment that’s protecting your investment.
Understand the yield equation
So how do seed treatments influence yield potential? There’s a simple equation I like to use to demonstrate the relationship:
Corn yield = weight per kernel x kernels per ear x ears per acre
Seed treatments help optimize the last two variables of the yield equation: ears per acre and kernels per ear. The fungicide and insecticide active ingredients of most standard seed treatments help protect the seed against early-season stresses. This promotes healthy, vigorous, uniform seedling emergence and helps optimize the number of ears per acre, as well as protects the growing seedling as it begins to determine the numbers of kernels per ear it will produce early in the season.
Know what’s on your seed
Seed treatment probably isn’t your first consideration when purchasing seed, but it is an important one to protect your investment. There are a lot of seed treatment formulations, rates and components available at different price points, so you really need to quantify those price differences to make an apples-to-apples comparison between products.
To be sure you’re getting the protection you need, ask these questions:
  • What fungicides are included in the treatment and at what rates? What diseases do these fungicides help protect against?
  • What insecticides are included in the treatment and at what rates? What insects do they help protect against?
  • Is there any nematode protection included?
  • Are there any other components that could help protect yield potential?
Get support as you make seed selections
The bottom line is that seed treatments aren’t all the same and they don’t offer the same protection and benefits. Ask the right questions and seek data to support seed treatment product claims as you plan your seed selections for next season. Chat with your WCAS agronomist if you have any questions regarding the use of seed treatments.

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