Seed Dressing Trial


Seed Dressing Trial


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The issue

Understanding, protecting and improving soil health is critical for managing Macquarie Valley's natural assets. Soil health is fundamentally linked to land productivity and environmental sustainability. Growers that are challenged by diseases such as rhizoctonia and crown rot aim to improve soil conditions through the use of seed dressings. Many seed dressings are available on the market, however by conducting a seed dressing trial our members are better equipped to make an informed decision as to what product would best help to improve their soils and therefore improve their outputs. Traditionally many chemicals were used to artificially improve and support crop harvest but now with the use of seed dressings we are able to reduce chemical inputs into the system. 

The solution

The aim of the trial was to evaluate and compare the performance of new and existing seed treatments in wheat.

We were able to see how seed dressing improved soil health and reduced the amount of chemicals put into the system.

It consisted of 6 treatments, including an untreated control. It was set out in a randomised 7 Ha block design per treatment, with treatments replicated three times over three different properties. Plot sizes were 1Ha. The trial was harvested on 24th November, 2018.

The impact

Significant differences were found in growth measurements such as emergence, coleoptile length, plant weight and tillering between seed treatments.

Establishment, vigour reduction, NDVI at flowering, plant health at grain fill, yield and quality were all assessed and statisically analysed. Incidence of disease in the trial was very low and there were no significant differences between treatments for disease.

It is worth noting the seed dressing programs performance in improving soil biology, soil organic matter and grain quality. This is achieved through inoculation of biology and building bigger root systems that are able to access more nutrients and water, resulting in greater yields when applied. Soil quality had improved however further replications are needed over many years to significantly identify the level of change. 

Key facts

  • “Four weeks after sowing, we struggled to see any differences between treatments, but at six to eight weeks after sowing, you could see a distinct increase in biomass compared to the untreated,” Ben said.

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