10% MORE DURUM IN THE BIN

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sure wasn’t nearly the same as it might have been.”

SEED TREATMENT IS JUST STEP ONE FOR CHICKPEAS

Collins was impressed with a 35 to 40 bushel per acre chickpea crop, although he put on an aggressive disease control program that began with a seed treatment.

“We treated the seed with Apron Maxx to start with, but then I had advice from another grower to keep ahead of disease with foliar fungicide applications,” he says.

Collins left the early seeded crop to establish for the first 30 to 40 days and then for ascochyta control he began applying products such as Syngenta’s Quadris and Bravo, and BASF’s Headline and Lance, on a regular schedule.

“The advice I got was to apply a fungicide every two weeks early in the season, and hopefully catch the crop before a rain,” says Collins. “And the timing worked out very well. The other piece of advice was to use lots of water, so I applied fungicide at the 10-gallon per acre water rate and really got a good coverage on the plants.”

Collins sprayed the crop five times between early May and mid-July and then quit as the rain stopped during the growing season. As soon as conditions got drier the disease risk fell.

It was an expensive program, that paid off. Each fungicide application costs about $20 (although one Bravo treatment was only $10) per acre, so total fungicide cost was between $80 and $90 per acre.

“However you have to weigh that cost against the fact that chickpeas were worth $20 per bushel,” he says. “Our kabuli chickpeas yielded 35 to 40 bushels per acre, compared to a more average yield of 20 to 25 bushels per acre.” All extra yield can’t be credited to the fungicide. It was a good growing season as well. But the extra 15-bushel-per-acre yield more than covered the cost of fungicide treatments.

“You have to look at the seed treatment as part of the overall package,” says Shad Milligan, seed care specialist with Syngenta Crop Protection Canada. “These products are a preventative measure to protect your investment. If you don’t get the crop off to a healthy, vigourous start, you’re not giving the rest of your inputs a chance to reach their potential.”

Milligan refers to examples of a vigourously growing crop across the road or fenceline from a thinner weaker stand. Aside from the yield difference, he says farmers run into situations where the weaker stand has more weeds, which can increase the cost of weed control in subsequent years.

While the benefits of seed treatment depend on several factors, including environmental conditions, he says on average producers should realize a 4:1 return on their investment. “There are no guarantees, but generally for every dollar you spend on seed treatment, you should see a $4 return,” he says.

Lee Hart is field editor of Grainews, based

in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or

by email at [email protected]:

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