If seed treatment is discerned to be the best way to go based on the above factors, there are a number of products registered for seed treatment for various crops.

Byamukama says fungicide products that contain the active ingredients metalaxyl or mefenoxam are effective against Oomycetes e.g. Pythium and Phytophthora spp., while active ingredients like captan, carboxin, thiram, fludioxonil and PCNB are effective against Rhizoctonia, Fusarium and Phomopsis.

"Fungicide seed treatment will not compensate for bad seed, for example shriveled, mechanical damaged or impure seed. It should be noted also that fungicide seed treatments are effective for up to three weeks," Byamukama says. "Therefore, slowed seedling growth due to cool soil temperatures or favorable weather conditions for infection three weeks after planting may still pose a risk for potential seedling infections."

When treating the seed and generally when working with pesticides, care should be taken before, during and after seed treatment.

"Questions that growers may have about how to handle left-over seed, treated seed spills, protecting birds and other wild life from treated seeds should be addressed," Byamukama says.

He points growers to a guide published by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and CropLife America (CLA): "The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship," available online for free. To learn more, visit iGrow.org.


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