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Protect Wheat Seed from the Start

September 17, 2018
This agronomic image shows Healthy root systems and vigorous plants as a result of Syngenta seed treatment

Healthy root systems and vigorous plants as a result of Syngenta seed treatment

For winter wheat, stand establishment before overwintering is critical to success. A strong stand results in healthy, vigorous seedlings that produce a profitable crop. There are several diseases and insects that can interfere with stand establishment and tiller development. Using a seed treatment can help with early root development and seedling vigor while managing early diseases and insects so your winter wheat crop establishes a strong stand before overwintering.

Insect and Disease Threats

Knowing your field’s history will help as you make a plan for managing early-season insects and diseases. Below are some common pests that may be present in your fields or attack your crop after planting.


  • FusariumFusarium attacks both the outside of the seed and its embryo. Infected seeds may die, germinate poorly or encounter seedling blight during germination.
  • PythiumPythium thrives in moist soils and can infect wheat seeds within 24-48 hours of planting. This pathogen can cause delayed emergence, damping off, stunted growth and thin plant stands.
  • Bunts/Smuts – According to Kansas State University Extension, infection from common bunt (also known as stinking smut) occurs during the germination process when environmental conditions are cool and wet. Bunts will infect the seedlings shortly after planting. Should plants survive infection, developing kernels will become gray and deformed. Infected kernels will also possess a strong fishy odor.


  • Hessian Fly – This common pest can cause devastation to wheat when conditions are favorable for growing. Hessian flies feed on individual tillers, causing undeveloped, infested shoots within the plant.
  • Greenbug – Greenbug infestations are most likely to occur in cool environmental conditions. The aphid feeds on wheat causing damage to leaves. Damage can be identified by yellow spots that turn red and chlorotic and kill plant leaves entirely.
  • Aphids and Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) – According to University of Nebraska Extension, BYDV is transmitted by more than 20 aphid species. Occurrence of this virus is most common when conditions are cool and moist. Damage to infected plants can be identified by yellow, red or purple discoloration. Controlling fall aphid populations is most effective in preventing BYDV.

Fungicide and insecticide seed treatments can help manage these and other insects and diseases. We recommend CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Cereals seed treatment insecticide/fungicide. This treatment boosts a crop’s RootingPower by delivering enhanced disease protection that leads to stronger roots and improved plant stands. At the same time, the Cruiser® Vigor Effect helps enhance germination, increases vigor, improves stand establishment and delivers better yield potential. Adding additional Cruiser seed treatment insecticide provides protection against aphids, greenbugs and Hessian fly.

Check out 4 other tips for success this winter wheat planting season.

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