Phosphate seed treatments promote better autumn establishment

By: Natalie Wood

Rapid establishment has always been important for cereals so optimising nutrition early on using seed treatments can help get crops off the the best start.

Phosphate seed treatments promote better cereal establishment
Phosphate seed treatments promote better cereal establishment
Phosphorus is particularly important for root establishment

Getting a crop off to a good start is vital with all the pests and diseases that can affect early growth. This means a combination of things in the autumn to give the crop the best chance.

A nutrient that is particularly important during establishment is phosphorus, in the form of plant-available phosphate.  Phosphate has a role in the development of shoots and in particular roots and this is why a sufficient supply is key in the early stages of a crop’s life - establishing that root network in order to access water and other nutrients. Generally the level of P required at this early stage is low, an Index 1 or above soil will supply enough to the seed for it to establish. 

However, cool soil temperatures will adversely affect phosphorus availability more than any other nutrient and with many growers considering delaying drilling, particularly for blackgrass control, these later drilled crops are more likely to suffer from low P availability. It is therefore essential that nutrients are in the right place at the right time through targeted fertiliser application.

Seed treatment ensures nutrients are immediately available

If you want peace of mind then consider placing a small amount of P at drilling means it is where the seed needs it and it can easily access it. The best option is to use a phosphate seed dressing such as YaraVita Glytrel MnP which contains both phosphate and manganese. As mentioned P is important for root growth, whereas manganese helps the germinating seed defend against diseases.

This combination means that there is a supply of phosphate directly on the seed and therefore will be immediately available to the plant once germinated with some added natural defence. 

Phosphate seed treatments promote better crop establishment

A seed treatment combining Mn and P helps crops develop a stronger root system from the beginning. These crops will then be in a better position to absorb all available nutrients throughout the spring, making up for lost time due to late drilling.

In recent trials, cereals treated with YaraVita Glytrel MnP showed an 18% increase in root weight/ surface area, and a 24% increase in root tip numbers. Similarly in oilseeds a recnt trial found that plant numbers doubled and root weights were over 4.5 times more in the treated side of the field than the untreated. Therefore the plants with more roots are better able to access resources and therefore established far better than the plants without the seed treatment

Cereal agronomy advice

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