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Seed Treating News for Custom Applicators

Spring, 2005

Dividend Supreme Pak application System. Cargill - Lethbridge

Seed labs have been busy trying to sort out what "seed" is worth seeding. The wet fall weather damaged all crops, especially pulses. Pea and lentil quality is shaky, so be sure your seed has a current germination test. Malt barleys are also moving down. It may be a year that high quality is limited, so early location of seed will be a good idea.

This is a year it will pay big dividends (no pun intended) to treat seed properly. Highly infected seed is already stressed, so won't be able to produce a high vigor plant. Don't make your customer start a crop with a poor seed lot; it will be an early finish, and he won't be back.

Syngenta is introducing Cruiser application to both the U.S. and Canadian markets this spring. It will only be available to custom applicators. Canadian application will primarily be to corn and western cereals where wire worms may be a problem.

We're supplying the Cruiser cereal application systems to Syngenta - Canada which will provide application of a number of product alternatives. Add-on systems will be available next year to provide Cruiser application to a wider range of custom applicators.

Diseases and other pests

Seed Quality very low.

Fusarium Graminearum continues to destroy crop value. The 2004 wet summer sent spore production through the roof, putting high disease pressure onto the '05 seed and crop.

Seed is carrying heavy spore loads, so seed treating to kill these parasites will greatly improve your seeds ability to produce viable plants. Seed borne Fusarium Graminearum can kill a seed before it even breaks ground, resulting in thin, weak stands. Lab tests show an increase of over 10 times in Fusarium Graminearum on seed.

Winter seed Lab tests show a 3 fold increase over 2004 in Fusarium Graminearum on prairie seed samples, while Alberta tests are up 6 times the 2004 numbers. This isn't a good trend, and should be of concern to the entire grain community.

Fusarium Graminearum quality costs may be felt more quickly, if a new DNA test comes to market. Bio vision is developing a quick test that could allow gangway testing of grain. If a load is highly infected, the buyer could immediately discount or refuse the grain, rather than contaminating storage as occurs now.

Grain buyers seem to finally get it. - Fusarium Graminearum will bite them too, so it is in their best interests to limit the spread, either though contaminated seed, or mixing grain.

AgricoreUnited has introduced a new initiative of providing high quality seed treating onto their contract seed. This insures the grower that the seed can't carry a new pest into his field, or contaminate the crop. Cargill and AgPro are also starting to look at sending out contract seed pre-treated, to produce higher yields and prevent crop infection.

Germination of lab seed samples shows the extent of the problem. The following chart shows the drop in western Canada germination compared to 2004 .

Crop Type20042005
Barley9585
Durum9586
Green peas9078
Lentils 9790
Wheat9790
Yellow Peas90 84
(data from Germination Magazine - March '05)

When seed is this stressed, treatment will help the seed retain enough vigor to produce a viable plant. Unprotected seed will have high mortality rates and thin stands.

New Hardward Products

Disconnecting applicators for moving or hooking up new supply units has always made a mess. We've finally found a dripless connector, that doesn't cause a big pressure drop which would lower the accuracy of our calibration charts. These units allow separation of G3 applicators and supply systems for moving or storage with no spills.

If you move your units, these connectors will make your life easier, and your site cleaner. Our office has limited supplied this spring, so inquire early. Larger disconnects also allow dripless transfer from stores containers to application tanks.

As environmental pressure build, closed transfer and application systems will be viewed as essential part of seed treating. We are pro-actively adding closed system capability to our custom applicator systems, to provide the spill-proofing and operator isolation needed in a professional system.

Transfer pump with
dripless connectors on tote and tank
Custom applicator
dripless transfer connector.

Tank upgrades

T1A tanks with integral circulator pump
and dripless fill port.

We've retooled our product storage tanks this year to provide better application accuracy and uniformity.

All tanks are now precision calibrated to provide 2% level marking accuracy. The new tanks are now colored Pacific Blue, to differentiate them.

T1A 240 liter tanks for commercial use now include integrated circulator pumps and cycle timers to circulate product on an assigned schedule. All products will settle somewhat in storage. The circulator pumps insure product uniformity, whenever it's needed, and the low pressure used eliminates the product separation caused by high pressure bypass pumps.


Custom Applicator Seed Treating Issues

Pump Effects on Product Uniformity

As seed treatment products become more effective (and costly), applicator accuracy and uniformity become more critical. Applying good products with a bad applicator produces almost no field benefit, and a wasted investment.

The new treating products are highly complex formulations with up to 25 ingredients, and can separate into sub-components with rough handling. High pressure drops during circulation, or poor circulation flows can cause product segregation or settling in storage tanks.

Interaction with air can lower the density of the product and throw off application rates. Getting the best field performance from these new pest protectors requires some care in handling and pumping.

After a series of in-house trials, and talking to many high volume applicators, we've identified several product handling and storage concerns.

  • Almost all stored products will settle out into separate components to some degree. Re-mixing prior to application provides uniform application onto the seed. Hoppered tanks with low-pressure recirculation are the preferred storage to assure product uniformity. Flat bottom storage tanks or containers with no circulation can result in variable product rates being applied, due to product settling.
  • Some products are quite sensitive to high circulation volumes through large pressure drops. It tends to make them separate more quickly in storage. Recirculation pumping should be done with non-shear (low pressure diaphragm) pumps at the lowest possible pressure. Otherwise, product separation will be accelerated.
  • Air in the product will change the density and make application rates vary. Tank returns into tank tops will entrain air in the product. This means tank return lines should discharge below the liquid surface. If a flow measurement is done through a nozzle, at least 2 hours settle time is required before volume can be accruately measured.
Westlock T1A tanks Mix / Stores

We now feel the best way to handle high volume seed treatments is to separate the duties of tank circulation and applicator delivery. Application delivery to atomizing nozzles requires higher pressure at low volumes. Tank circulation requires higher volumes at low pressure.

No one pump does both these jobs well, so we propose supplying 2 different pumping systems on our T1A commercial volume storage tanks. A low pressure submersible pump will supply high volume circulation on a timed schedule, while a low volume charge pump will deliver the higher pressure needed to the applicators. This will keep the product uniform while avoiding the destructive shear forces from high-pressure drop / high volume returns to the tanks. Smaller 120-liter T1 tanks will continue to use a single circulate / charge pump. Mixing issues are much less critical in lower capacity systems.

We will be offering a number of new pumps alternatives to supply higher pressures or volumes needed for multi story plants. As seed treating installations become more varied, no one pump will satisfy all demands.

Grain Dust Impact on Seed Treating

Anyone that has treated canola is familiar with the interactions of water base treatments and seed dust. The treaters start throwing dust/chemical lumps after 100 bags of treating, if there is much dust in the seed.

Now that we're using water base products in large seeded crops, the same issues are surfacing. Seed dust and chemical droplets combine to form dust lumps that hang up in the applicators and can drop into the treated seed. This requires dropping the G3 applicator bottom off periodically, and cleaning out the dust / chemical buildup.

Like the canola case, the best means of dealing with this is to eliminate as much seed dust as possible. Vacuum points installed at treating bin feed inlets or outlets do the best job. The buildup is highest in barley treating, as it's the dustiest crop.


Other Custom Treating Issues

Seed placed insecticides

A new group of much more effective and user safe seed placed insecticides is coming to market over the next few years. They supply longer plant protection at much lower cost than post emergent applications. They're applied as a tank mix or pre-mix due to their very low application rates. Cruiser from Syngenta and Gaucho / Poncho from Bayer are tank mixable with fungicides and inoculants; so can be combo-applied with G3's or G3DS applicators.

These products will be effective, but not inexpensive; so will require accurate, uniform application systems to produce maximum field benefit.

We've designed custom application systems to provide tank mixes of Cruiser 5FS or 350FS, or Gaucho 480 with a fungicide, or to retrofit application of them into an existing fungicide application system.

If you're interested in insecticide application, give us a call; talk to our value added retailers or to the product supplier.

Our Primary Focus
Make seed treating accurate, simple and safe, while
Maximizing the seed treatment benefit to the crop.

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