New seed technology showed advantages in 2010
By Donna Fleury
Hybrid canola breeding programs and innovative technology have put varieties in farmers’ hands with great genetics and yield potential. Monsanto has recently introduced a new seed treatment technology to help protect this genetic potential. Acceleron seed treatment technology improves stand establishment, seedling vigour and improves yields. “Acceleron has a number of components, including some proven fungicides and an insecticide with proven performance in Western Canada,” explains David Kelner, western technology development lead with Monsanto Canada Inc. in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “It also includes a unique novel biological component, which is a specific strain isolated from a naturally occurring soil bacterium called Bacillus subtilis. This seed treatment combination seems to be providing a little more vigour for the crop as it comes out of the ground and a modest yield boost.”
The Acceleron seed treatment technology for canola provides early season protection for seeds and seedlings against diseases and insects such as flea beetles. Acceleron includes fungicides for the control of seedling diseases known as the seedling disease complex. This refers to diseases such as damping-off, seedling blight, seed rot and root rot caused by Fusarium, Pythium and Rhizoctonia fungi. “The new novel biological component is registered as having fungicidal properties and is meant to work in conjunction with the other classical fungicide component in the product,” says Kelner. “The two products together provide enhanced disease suppression.”
Acceleron also includes an insecticide for the control of flea beetles with protection up to 35 days after crop emergence.
The seed treatment has had two years of field-scale testing with positive results. “Monsanto has a heavy emphasis on field scale testing because we believe that is where performance needs to be demonstrated,” says Kelner. “We were fortunate to test it in our FACT (Field Analysis Comparison Trial) program, which consists of farm-scale trials that are grown and managed by farmers using their own equipment and crop inputs.”
In the two years of FACT trials, Acceleron seed treatment was tested against the industry standard with 61 common comparisons. Each comparison was a full seeder strip of a participating farmer’s drill of approximately 1000 feet or about one acre. “In the trials, the Acceleron seed treatment technology showed a yield increase of 1.4 percent and won the yield competition in 62 percent of the comparisons,” explains Kelner. “The win rate was quite compelling and visually the plants looked a lot more aggressive coming out of the ground and the crop generally looked healthier. This improved vigour contributes to better weed competition and helps plants withstand stresses in the field.”
Kelner adds that although a 1.4 percent yield increase may sound pretty modest, combined with new hybrids offering three to four percent yield improvement, it becomes a pretty compelling package for the grower.
In 2010, the new 73 series of Dekalb hybrid canola was treated with Acceleron. “We are still finalizing discussions on exactly what varieties will be treated with Acceleron for 2011, but we expect the 73 series to have Acceleron and any new introductions as well,” says Kelner. “Going forward, most of the Dekalb lineup will be treated with Acceleron. The seed treatment is really about setting the crop up properly at the beginning of the year to allow it to reach its genetic potential and yield.”