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Select the right seed dressing to keep crops free from disease

As certified and home-saved seed deliveries ramp up, growers are urged to select a cereal seed dressing with the right disease control strengths for the relevant threats.

drilled wheat seed exposed

Single purpose dressings – widely referred to as SPDs – have been used to control seed-, soil- and trash-borne disease for many years, helping growers optimise crop establishment and yield.

The name given to SPDs is slightly misleading, as many control more than one disease, but there are subtle differences between actives, says Certis seed treatment expert Tim Eaton.

He adds that this is something growers should be aware of when ordering in seed or having their own seed dressed by a contractor to ensure they are getting the right protections for their farm’s specific risks.

“Quite often, a grower will simply specify the same or similar to what they had the previous year with little scrutiny as to what product or products are used, and that is not always the right choice,” he adds.

For example, fludioxonil is a standard option in several seed treatments and gives good control of a range of seed and soil borne wheat diseases. It is particularly strong on Fusarium so is essential in situations where this is prevalent, such as wheat after maize.

An additional active may bring more robust protection against other diseases for example Difenconazole is particularly strong against Bunt.

In barley, the best option is to combine fludioxonil with tebuconazole in a product like Fountain, as the tebuconazole element adds some additional activity against loose smut.

“If planning to home save, it’s very important all your seed-borne disease risks are covered or they may cause problems in subsequent generations,” says Mr Eaton.

Further to SPDs, added value treatments should also be a consideration for problems like take-all, controlled by Latitude (silthiofam), and pest problems like wireworm and wheat bulb fly that is minimised by pyrethroid insecticide cypermethrin.

Seed treatment actives – what are their strengths?


Crops affected

Seed treatment

Loose smut (seed borne)

wheat, barley, oats

  • Azoles like tebuconazole give best control

Bunt (seed- and soil-borne)


  • Difenconazole gives best control

Fusarium and microdochium seedling blight (seed-, soil- and trash-borne)

wheat, barley, oats, triticale, and rye

  • Fludioxonil gives best control

Leaf stripe


  • Azoles like tebuconazole give best control


wheat, barley, triticale, rye

  • Silthiofam


All cereals

  • Cypermethrin gives reduction

Wheat bulb fly

All cereals except oats

  • Cypermethrin gives reduction