Seed treatment makes its mark

The West Australian
Corrigin grower Adam Rendell and Bayer Territory sales manager Glen Bradley.
Camera IconCorrigin grower Adam Rendell and Bayer Territory sales manager Glen Bradley. Credit: Countryman

Doing the "one-per-centers" has been the cornerstone of many modern, successful football teams and Adam Rendell has applied the same approach to his farming operation at Corrigin.

Since 2000, Adam has been growing equal amounts of wheat, barley and canola over 2100ha of the "Natural Park" property and has since added 475ha of leased land.

The one-per-centers' rule has meant applying Rolls-Royce-style pickles (seed treatments) before the seed goes in the ground.

Rhizoctonia disease has been a problem in some paddocks on the farm, which comprises sandy gravel soils.

Adam noticed a few weak patches in paddocks in earlier years and has since been treating seed every season.

The rhizoctonia fungus attacks plant roots, shortening them and limiting their ability to access moisture and nutrients. This can lead to uneven crop growth and significant yield losses that impact farm profitability.

Adam also switched to a knife-point and press-wheel sowing system in 2003, which can exacerbate the disease, but narrow 22.5cm (nine-inch) tine spacings at least provide for some disturbance of the rhizoctonia fungus in the soil.

Last year, Adam decided to use the new EverGol Prime seed treatment for his full wheat and barley program and while he did not leave an untreated strip for comparison, he was impressed with the results.

Containing the active ingredient, penflufen, EverGol Prime from Bayer, is a new-generation fungicide from the Group 7 carboxamide group of fungicides and is also highly active on smut diseases, including bunt.

It is registered for suppression of rhizoctonia in wheat and barley, and control of covered smut and loose smut in barley, and bunt, flag smut (seed borne) and loose smut in wheat.

It will also provide suppression of soil-borne flag smut in wheat.

EverGol Prime has demonstrated superior levels of activity against rhizoctonia compared with existing alternatives.

He conceded it was also an ideal growing season, after receiving summer storms and 115mm during July.

The barley achieved an average yield of 4.6 tonnes a hectare with low screenings of about 13 per cent.

Three paddocks of barley yielded 5t/ha. The wheat yielded an average of 4t/ha with 0.8 per cent screenings, while the canola recorded an average yield of 1.8t/ha with 49 per cent oil content.

Adam said he planned to adopt the same seed treatment plan next season for his wheat and barley, but would look to leave a few untreated strips to help quantify the benefits.

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