As certified and home-saved seed deliveries ramp up, growers are being urged to select a cereal seed dressing with the right disease control strengths for the relevant threats.

Single purpose dressings – widely referred to as SPDs – have been used to control seed, soil and trash-borne disease for many years, helping growers optimise crop establishment and yield.

However, the name given to SPDs is slightly misleading, as many control more than one disease, but there are subtle differences between actives, pointed out Certis' seed treatment expert, Tim Eaton. He added that this was something growers should be aware of when ordering in seed, or having their own seed dressed by a contractor, to ensure they are getting the right protections for their farm’s specific risks.

“Quite often, a grower will simply specify the same or similar to what they had the previous year with little scrutiny as to what product or products are used, and that is not always the right choice,” he added.

For example, fludioxonil is a standard option in several seed treatments and gives good control of a range of seed- and soil-borne wheat diseases. It is particularly strong on fusarium, so is essential in situations where this is prevalent such as wheat after maize, he said.

Read more: Trials give a warning over using untreated seed

Adding a second active alongside fludioxonil may bring more robust protection against other diseases, with difenoconazole particularly strong against bunt. In barley, the best option is to combine fludioxonil with tebuconazole in a product like Fountain, as the tebuconazole element adds some additional activity against loose smut.

“If planning to home save seed, it’s very important all your seed-borne disease risks are covered or they may cause problems in subsequent generations,” said Mr Eaton.

Further to SPDs, added value treatments should also be a consideration for problems like take-all, controlled by Latitude (silthiofam), and pest problems like wireworm and wheat bulb fly, with damage minimised by pyrethroid insecticide cypermethrin.