Seed Treatment Options For 2023

You’ve finally finished harvest and are back from holidays. What to do now? Well, if you haven’t already, it might be time to decide what…
February 24, 2023Ag Chem Back to All

You’ve finally finished harvest and are back from holidays. What to do now? Well, if you haven’t already, it might be time to decide what varieties you’ll be growing next year and what seed dressings you’ll need for them. 

Like everything else, the seed dressing market has become complex, and deciding whether to stick with the old tech or try out the new can be overwhelming. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a summary of the main product options.

COMING: Victrato

One product to watch for in the coming years is Victrato from Syngenta. Victrato’s active is 200g/L of Cyclobutrifluram and will be registered on wheat and barley. We’re excited about it because of its registration for crown rot control and root lesion nematode management. Syngenta says it has excellent seed and crop safety with no adverse effects on germination or crop vigour. Victrato is a group 7 fungicide (SDHI) which means resistance can become an issue – so if you use it as a seed dressing, don’t come back with a group 7 fungicide first up in crop. It also looks like a great fit in durum, where crown rot can be damaging. We will keep you updated on it and when it is released. 



On the premium side: Systiva covers smut, bunt, barley scald, leaf rust, net blotch, and powdery mildew and has suppression on Rhizoctonia. For barley varieties such as Planet or Compass with a poor net blotch resistance, Systiva is the go-to product with exceptional control of both spot form net blotch (SFNB) and net form net blotch (NFNB). This will be the same for Zena CL (Planet), Commodus CL, and Leabrook (Compass). However, testing on the Lower YP in 2020 found resistance in the NFNB population to Fluxapyroxad – the active ingredient in Systiva. Given the severity of the resistance, it likely emerged in 2018 or earlier. This has reduced some of the efficacy of Systiva, but overall, it will still have some control of NFNB. Studies suggest that even with this shift in resistance, 60-80% control of Net Bloch is possible. We recommend a good foliar fungicide program to follow around stem elongation or flag leaf, with a different mode of action from the SDHI fungicides. During these testings across the YP, they also found very high levels of resistance to tebuconazole in all paddocks tested. 

The cheaper options: Good old Baytan-T will cover smuts and bunts. It also has suppression on seedling leaf scald and powdery mildew. However, Baytan-T has yet to prove to be as effective on loose smut, particularly in high-risk situations. With this in mind, our next option would be Evergol Energy or Vibrance, followed by a good post-em fungicide program if you are in high-risk areas. 


Wheat and Barley: 

As the top choice, we recommend either Vibrance or Evergol Energy. Vibrance covers smut, bunt, and net blotch in both wheat and barley and now has added suppression on Rhizoctonia and Pythium. It also controls smut and bunt, making it ideal for Spartacus or LaTrobe-type varieties susceptible to loose smut. Vibrance and Evergol Energy are also the only products for cereals that control Pythium, a precursor for Rhizoctonia.  

Cheaper options for wheat are Raxil-T or Baytan-T. These will cover your smuts and bunts. However, research has shown both products can cause issues with the shortening of coleoptile length and increases pre-emergent damage on light soil. 

Another fungicide and insecticide option available from Nufarm is Pontiac, which covers aphids as well as controlling bunts and smuts and suppression on Rhizoctonia. 

Resistance continues to be an issue on the YP. Testing back in 2019 found Powdery Mildew resistance to strobilurins and tebuconazole at high levels, as well as to some DMI fungicides in wheat in the northern YP. You can attribute this rise of resistance to large areas repeatedly sown to highly susceptible wheat varieties in close rotation (Chief, Mace, Scepter). Therefore, if you’re planting a highly susceptible variety in a high-pressure situation, a different mode of action, such as Systiva (an SDHI mode of action) as a seed dressing, may give some relief. But the best long-term solution is in growing varieties with high levels of resistance to powdery mildew, such as Brumby.


Wheat and Barley Insecticides: 

We recommend Gaucho or Cruiser 350FS to control aphids. Getting on top of these also helps control barley yellow dwarf virus and cereal yellow dwarf virus. Cruiser 350FS is a next-generation neonicotinoid that covers the same insect spectrum as Gaucho but is much more user-friendly, with significantly less dusting after application. Also, don’t forget about Russian Wheat Aphids. Even though we haven’t seen them in recent seasons, they will still be around in low numbers and can become a problem in the right conditions. Both these products also provide a germination kick and, even in the absence of pests, show better vigour and establishment than untreated crops. 



Our two main legume products are Apron XL (or Axy-M) and P Pickle-T. Apron XL will cover damping-off and downy mildew in peas and Phytophthora root rot in chickpeas. P-Pickle-T will control seed-borne infection of ascochyta in chickpeas and lentils, botrytis in chickpeas, and black spot in peas. It will also control seedling root rot in peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas. 

Tip: Pickling legumes is crucial in short legume/cereal rotations. Having protected seed enables the crop to establish free from disease, as disease pressure is high thanks to the short rotations. If the crop can get a leg up away from the disease early, it will be much more equipped to fight off disease later in the season, and fungicides will be more effective. 



Two products you might’ve seen over the past few years are Saltro and Ilevo. Both are a step up on Jockey (now discontinued) for blackleg protection and will be on most new seed varieties along with Poncho Plus or Cruiser Opti. Ilevo and Saltro will cover blackleg, and Poncho Plus and Cruiser Opti are insecticides. Poncho Plus will give protection from wireworms, cutworms, aphids, Lucerne fleas, RLEM and blue oat mites for 3-4 weeks. Cruiser Opti controls green peach aphid and grey cabbage aphids and will also give suppression of RLEM and lucerne flea. 

The other options that may come with your order are Maxim XL or Gaucho. Maxim XL is a fungicide predominantly used for seedling blackleg suppression. Gaucho was applied to seed last year during the supply issues where companies needed to get seed out to us. Jockey Stayer is still an option but will slowly phase out to the new products which have no germination issues, especially when seed isn’t sown and kept in storage until the following season. 


For a detailed overall of products, have a look at our Seed Treatment Tables below, or give one of our agronomists a call.




Some tips: 


There are four principal reasons for applying a fungicide treatment to wheat at sowing. 

  • For smut control alone: use a product from Table 1. 
  • For suppression of soil-borne diseases: use a product from Table 2. 
  • For control of foliar fungi and smuts, use a product from Table 3. 
  • For control of aphids and, therefore BYDV: use a product from Table 4. 


All barley seed, except fully resistant varieties, should be treated with a product from Table 3 that controls powdery mildew to delay the development of fungicide resistance. Where the inclusion of a product for control of loose smut is a priority, this should be mixed with one that provides control of powdery mildew. Where growers seek to suppress Rhizoctonia, then a product from Table 2 may be used in addition to the mildew control.