Seed Treatments

Seeing is believing. Insect control and early season plant health pay dividends in the end.

By Carroll Smith
Editor

Arkansas crop consultant Ron Baxley believes rice seed treatments are some of the better tools that have been made commercially available for the industry in a while. The two choices for 2012 are Dermacor X-100 and CruiserMaxx Rice. Also, in a recent announcement, EPA has approved a 24(c) registration for Dermacor X-100 use in water-seeded rice in Louisiana. Dermacor X-100 received a 2(ee) label for use at a reduced rate for hybrid plantings (20-30 lb/acre seeding rate). The 2(ee) allows a rate of 4-5 fl oz/cwt seed instead of 6 fl oz/cwt seed. Check your state for details. Soon-to-be-registered NipsIt INSIDE rice seed treatment will be used in EUP trials again this year.

According to LSU AgCenter entomologist Mike Stout, “Dermacor is the better product against rice water weevil than CruiserMaxx, but CruiserMaxx is more active than Dermacor against grape colaspis and the sucking type insects, such as chinch bug and aphids. Dermacor also gives good control against the lepidopteran pests, such as fall armyworm and true armyworm, and actually has some residual activity against stem borers late in the season.”

Early Season Plant Health

In addition to providing insect control, the seed treatments appear to promote healthier plants early in the season, which often translates into a more uniform crop and better grades at harvest.

“In my experience with seed treatments, not only are they keeping insects at bay, but they also are contributing to a healthier plant with a larger root system, which helps the plant deal with stress throughout the season a lot better,” Baxley says.

“Last year I observed a commercial field that was treated with Dermacor alongside a trial plot of non-treated seed,” he says. “There was a huge difference in the way the rice looked, especially the roots, when we pulled the plants up and compared them.”

The Arkansas consultant also notes that in 2010, the treated fields seemed to withstand heat much better than non-treated fields. In addition to heat stress, Stout says treated rice appears to germinate faster and stand up to a wide variety of stressors, including cold, salt and drought.

“We have good, solid data on cold tolerance,” Stout says.

“We are also planting at lower seeding rates, which leads to less disease pressure later in the season,” Baxley adds. “By using seed treatments in this scenario, we are seeing more uniform stands with more vigor, which appears to lead to a more uniform crop with more uniform maturity at the end of the season.”

Contact Carroll Smith at (901) 767-4020 or csmith@onegrower.com.