Top Crop Manager

Features Agronomy Cereals
New seed treatment holds much promise

Simple approach twinned with great potential.

November 13, 2007  By Top Crop Manager

22aThe name is Gemini, but the idea is singularly simple: make it easier for growers
to control disease and root rots in cereal crops.

Despite the connotation with twins, Gemini's approach reduces much of the confusion
of seed treatments, making it easier to apply, with the added bonus of a single
rate for wheat, barley and oats. Gemini is promoted as a control against seed
and soilborne fusarium in wheat and loose smut in barley. Also on the product
label are common bunt, pythium damping off and covered smut.

The formulation of triticonazole + thiram is in its first year of commercial
registration and is being greeted within the industry with a great degree of
optimism. Ellen Sparry, research and development co-ordinator with C&M Seeds,
agrees there is a sense of anticipation to see the results Gemini has on the
2006 crop. "We have included Gemini in a seed treatment trial on spring
wheat this year. One of the claims of Gemini is improved control of fusarium
crown root rot," she says. "We are quite interested to see results
of Gemini compared to other seed treatments for this disease along with other
seed-associated diseases."

Another feature of Gemini is its suitability on both winter and spring wheat
varieties. But one of its drawbacks is that it will not control dwarf bunt,
admittedly not a problem in the traditional winter wheat growing regions south
of Ontario's Highway 7. "Our concern for winter wheat with Gemini is the
lack of control of dwarf bunt," says Sparry. "When winter conditions
are right, dwarf bunt can be quite a problem in our area."

Trevor Kraus, technical specialist with BASF Canada, agrees the jury is still
out on Gemini, especially given its first year status. But in trials with Dividend
and Vitaflo on spring wheat yields, Gemini displayed significantly higher yields
(5.1bu/ac increase) than untreated and wheat treated with Dividend (3.2bu/ac
increase). "It would be competitive with all other seed treatments on all
other diseases," says Kraus. "It's a ready to use formulation, and
it's a single rate for all crops and diseases."

In trials to measure disease control in fusarium head blight, and crown and
root rot, Gemini also fared better, with higher yields and better overall control.


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