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Seed Treatments & Bird Damage

It seems there is as much debate over seed treatment choice as there is about variety selection for the 2020 season.

One of the standard seed treatments on maize for many, many years has been Mesurol, but this year will be the last. Over the years, the insecticide Mesurol has also gained a reputation as an effective bird repellent.

There is a small amount of seed treated with Mesurol available but, in the main, suppliers have moved over to the chemical ziram as a replacement. The product name most commonly associated with ziram is Korit, and the active ingredient is widely used under several diff erent names, on maize seed from suppliers such as Limagrain, KWS and Corteva.

It is generally accepted that Korit does not do such an effective job as Mesurol, so even when this chemical is applied to the seed, there is still a risk of crop damage from crows. It is likely that ziram will also be withdrawn from the market over the next couple of years.

Maize is most at risk from crow damage between drilling and early emergence (roughly the two-leaf stage). By drilling seed treated with a biostimulant product such as Starcover (used on some Limagrain varieties), plant growth rate and speed of establishment is increased, and the plants produce more roots and bigger roots.

An additional benefit of the biostimulant seed treatment is that the crop produces a higher yield of higher feed value silage at harvest.

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