• Agronomic Insights, Seed

The Yield Equation: Where Do Seed Treatments Fit?

Man pouring seed into planter

Did you know that an effective seed treatment helps your crop establish a more even stand? That benefit alone offers season-long advantages. Of course, seed treatments can also help protect against early-season insect and disease pressure and promote vigorous emergence.


As you prepare for next season’s seed purchases, be sure you know what active ingredients are 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 make sure you’re getting the protection you need, ask your seed dealer 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?


It’s common for most corn hybrids to include a standard fungicide and insecticide seed treatment for protection. Since 2019, select CROPLAN® corn hybrids have included an extra zinc seed treatment, Fortivent® Zn, in addition to fungicide and insecticide active ingredients, at no extra cost. Zinc is an essential nutrient for vigorous germination of corn seed, helping promote consistent emergence and even stands. Data from 41 Midwest Answer Plot® locations in 2018 showed, on average, a 4.8-bushel-per-acre yield advantage for hybrids treated with Fortivent Zn compared to the same untreated hybrids.


A new seed treatment that builds on the foundation of Fortivent Zn will be available on most CROPLAN Signature and Performance corn hybrids for the 2021 planting season. Fortivent Plus provides early-season insect control and plant vigor. It also delivers control of the fungi Pythium, which has become especially problematic during the last few planting seasons because of wet conditions in many areas. Fortivent Plus combines Fortivent Zn with:

  • Poncho® Votivo® seed treatment, which protects seeds and seedlings from early-season insects and a variety of plant-pathogenic nematodes that attack roots; and

  • Intego® Solo fungicide, which provides enhanced Pythium control.


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. Your local WinField United retailer can help you find the best products to fit your budget.


© 2020 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. CROPLAN®, Fortivent® and WinField are trademarks of WinField United.


Poncho® and Votivo® are trademarks owned by BASF Corporation.
IntegoSolo Fungicide is a trademark of Valent U.S.A. Corporation

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