Category: News
Date published: May 06, 2024

Healthy seed: the basis for a healthy crop

Sow, grow, harvest it all and start again - the ideal cycle. But biotic factors, such as diseases and pests, can affect the crop. Cereal crops are also often at risk from abiotic factors, such as nutrient deficiencies, too much or too little water, heat or cold stress. Resulting in a significant drop in yield and (financial) loss for the grower. Which fungal diseases are most common? And how can you best protect crops from them? A tip of the hat: with Cerall, Koppert's powerful and biological seed treatment.

Wide range of diseases 

A wide range of fungal diseases can affect cereal crops. The seeds often have the role of carrier in this; in fact, they may have become infected during seed production in the previous season. The infected seeds then transmit the disease to the yet-to-be-developed crops in the new season. It is not always immediately apparent to the naked eye whether crops are diseased or infected. Some diseases cause seedlings to fall over at an early stage. We call this phenomenon (pre- or post-germination) damping-off. These seed-borne diseases can also cause infections of the leaves or ear later in the crop cycle.

The most common seed-borne diseases and their characteristics 

Some of the most common seed-borne diseases in cereal crops are:

  • Fusarium spp.

  • Tilletia caries (common bunt, or wheat stone burn)

  • Microdochium nivale (foot rot)

  • Septoria nodorum (glume blotch, or leaf spot disease)

Fusarium, Septoria nodorum and Microdochium nivale cause damping-off in many cases. Fusarium can also survive on dead material and cause infections on the ear at a later stage. In addition, Fusarium, along with several other fungal diseases, has the nasty property of producing mycotoxins. These substances are toxic to humans and animals, which is why maximum concentration requirements for them in grain for food production have been established at the European level. Tilletia caries survives in the early stages of the crop cycle and can infect the plant and be systemically present in latent form. Later in the season, it can cause infection of the ear. Septoria nodorum behaves similarly; dark brown spots develop on the leaves and leaf sheaths, often surrounded by a light circle. Later, ear infections may occur.

Influence of abiotic factors

Often abiotic factors influence how quickly diseases develop. During last fall, extreme wet weather and associated soil conditions across Europe adversely affected the winter wheat season. As a result, wheat seeding was often impossible, and growers postponed it. As a result, seedlings emerged later due to lower temperatures later in the season, increasing the risk of disease. In some countries, seedling emergence was so poor that growers had to re-sow the crops. All this led to additional costs for growers and a major shortage of grain seeds throughout Europe.

Cerall: the protective and organic seed treatment 

How to best protect cereal crops from diseases? For all crops, healthy seed is the basis of a healthy crop. We have a powerful and 100% organic product that protects seeds against diseases and supports the growth of young cereals: Cerall. This seed treatment is future proof and just as effective as chemical seed treatments. The liquid formula can be applied directly to grain seeds in both organic and conventional growing systems.