• Agronomic Insights, Seed
  • Sep 04, 2019

The Yield Equation: Where Do Seed Treatments Fit?

Man pouring seed into planter
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 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?
As you know, it’s common for most corn hybrids to include a standard fungicide and insecticide seed treatment for protection. CROPLAN® corn hybrids offer an extra zinc seed treatment, 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. For all six hybrids tested, there was consistently a positive yield response to Fortivent Zn treatment when all other management practices were the same.

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 locally owned and operated WinField United retailer can help you find the best products to fit your budget.

All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission. 

© 2019 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. Answer Plot®, CROPLAN®, Fortivent and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

Agronomic Insights, Seed

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