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As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Seed Treatment Decisions for Use on Winter Wheat

The decision to treat wheat seed should be based on several factors that will vary between farms and individuals. There are many variables involved when making this decision. These include seed cost, cost associate with treating, crop value, field/crop history, seed quality, soil condition, tillage practices, planting date, anticipated disease and insect pressure, and an individual's tolerance to risk. Most of us look at seed treatments as "insurance". Seed treatments can be a means of preventing or reducing the risks from a number of soilborne and seedborne pathogens or insects. Seedling diseases tend to be more severe if poor quality seed is used and if conditions at planting are not favorable for quick germination and stand establishment. Seed treatments can improve stand establishment under poor growing conditions. If seed is to be used that was harvested from a field with common bunt or loose smut, a fungicide seed treatment should be strongly considered. Similarly, any seed that is going to be planted in a field with a history of common bunt is a good candidate for seed treatment. The following table is a partial list of those seed treatments. Check your local distributors to determine which products are available in your area and at what cost. The cost of adding these products will increase your cost from $2 up to $9, depending on applicator cost. If you do decide to treat your seed with any insecticide, please read the label for possible grazing restrictions.
Which diseases are we concerned about?
Loose or black loose smut; Common Bunt, Stinking Smut, Covered smut; Karnal bunt; Black point; Others Rhizoctonia Spring Blight, Take-all, Scab (Head blight), Sharp Eyespot and Rhizoctonia Root Rot, Common Root Rot, Foot Rot, and Crown Rot, and Pythium spp.

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