SUPPORTED BY ENDORSED BY 54 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 Seedcare Application lead for North America. He adds that this can alter the singulation process. Seed treatments shouldn’t negatively impact seed han- dling and performance. But, he cautions, not all formula- tions are built the same. “Seed lubricants are an important piece of technology that can be used to make sure there is proper seed singula- tion,” says Baker. “One of the most important things to do is to always use these lubricants on treated seeds.” Baker explains that every new formulation that Syngenta Seedcare puts on the market undergoes numer- ous quality tests. Singulation is just one of the qualities tested and evaluated. “Some of Syngenta Seedcare’s formulations might have more than 15 compo- nents in its composition, including surfactants, stabiliz- ers, anti-foam agents, flow aids, and many other compo- nents,” Baker says. “Our scien- tists and formulation chemists add these components to ensure these formulations are stable and that they form a more uniform seed coating.” The goal: to improve adherence of the seed treat- ment to the seed. The seed treatment is sup- posed to stick on the seed. But what happens when it doesn’t? During the planting season, it can be transferred from the seed to the planting disc as a form of rub-off or product build-up. When there is a buildup of treatment on the planting disc, seeds get stuck in some of the disc cavities. Then, with every revolution of the planting disc, some seeds aren’t being put in the ground. This is not uncom- mon, Baker says, especially if you aren’t using a good qual- ity seed treatment formulation on the seed. “And this is assuming that you are using all the correct configurations for your planter and that you have added your seed lubricants. This is mainly because of adherence of the seed treatment on the seed, if you don’t have a good adher- ence, you may end up with a lot of abrasion and some of those products will be trans- ferred to the planting disc.” The Role of Lubricants Other than the seed treat- ment quality and getting the planter’s settings right, the other consideration to high- light is using seed lubricant. Seed lubricants are there to make sure you have a smooth planting process. They dimin- ish abrasion between treated seeds and the planter seed disc. Using those according to the recommendation of the planter manufacturer is very important. Shiny powders are being widely used on soybeans and some other crops as well. They are based on titanium dioxide or mica. They are not a seed lubricant and will not lubricate seeds or planter parts. Because of their shiny appearance it may seem that the seeds are actually lubri- cated, but they’re not. “There is a certain misun- derstanding in the market- place that when farmers and growers see shiny seeds, they think that they don’t need to add any seed lubricant,” Baker says. “We have run several tests in the Seedcare lab, and we see big drops in terms of seed singulation when seed lubricants are not used on top of the shiny powders.” Flowability agents like polymers do not lubricate the seed enough during the plant- ing process. It is very important to acknowledge that seed lubricants are still needed even though some type of flowabil- ity agent is included in the seed treatment either in the formula- tion or in a form of a polymer. There are other non-lubri- cating products that are used to help dry the seed. These products have a purpose, but they are not lubricants. Always refer to the planter manufac- turer’s information for seed lubricant recommendation. Most of the time when grow- ers are having seed plantabil- ity or singulation issues, it is because they are not follow- ing best practices in terms of using seed lubrication. SW BEST PRACTICES Many factors go into helping farmers achieve the maximum yield potential of what’s in the bag. Sandy Baker, Syngenta Seedcare Application lead for North America, shares a few best management practices when it comes to seed handling and treatment: • As soon as seed is delivered, always make sure treated seed is stored in a dry area where the seeds will not pickup moisture. • Always use high quality, seed treatments to ensure smooth planting performance with fewer issues throughout the season. Depending on the brand, recommendations might include talc, graphite, or sometimes a blend of the two. • Most importantly, especially when considering singulation, always refer to the equipment manufacturer’s manual for equipment settings. • Always refer to the planter manufacturer’s recommendations when using seed lubricants such as talc, graphite or an 80:20 combination.