Boost spring crops with a root-enhancing seed dressing

Spring crops are likely to face a tough time getting started with the wet weather of 2012 leaving many soils in a poor state and nutrient levels heavily depleted, but prospects can be improved with the use of Radiate, a seed dressing proven to boost root development.  

A recent summary of soil nutrient status by NRM Laboratories has found that more than 50% of the arable soils tested were lacking in essential micronutrients (see chart).  

According to Simon McMunn of De Sangosse, a manufacturer of specialist micronutrient products, such high deficiencies will leave many crops struggling to meet their potential.

“Deficiencies of this scale are only to be expected after one of the wettest years on record, but through astute management there are steps growers can take to partially redress the balance and give crops a chance of meeting their potential,” says Simon McMunn.

“For spring crops of all types, growers should include Radiate seed treatment.  Radiate has been shown by NIAB to boost auxin production in the root promoting growth and helping the crop scavenge for nutrients.  Across more than 50 trials in winter wheat seed treated with Radiate has delivered a yield gain of 0.8t/ha.
“Based on a rough cost of £10/ha and with wheat at £180/t this gives an impressive return on investment of 14:1,” adds Simon McMunn.

Nigel Day of Anglia Grain Services has seen Radiate become increasingly popular with growers eager to maximise profitability in recent years.

“Because it’s complimentary to conventional seed treatments it can be applied at the same time meaning no special operations are required and a relatively modest cost it is easily justified,” says Nigel Day.

“With seed of variable size, especially spring wheat, vigour is likely to be of concern to growers so anything that promotes root development during the early stages has to be viewed as worthwhile,” he says.

While the past year means thoughts of a potential drought are unlikely to be foremost in growers’ minds, Nigel Day is quick to point out that there is still a long way to go to harvest.

“Spring barleys tend to be planted on light land prone to drought and with March typically a dry month, especially for those in the eastern counties, we would urge growers to consider including Radiate as a means to helping crops through what could still be a challenging conclusion to the season,” he says.