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Early Returns Show Indiana Seed Treatment Beating Soybean SDS, Improving Yields
Indiana Ag Connection - 11/24/2021

Harvest results now tallied in soybean fields across the Corn Belt are providing proof: With CERAMAX, American soybean growers now have a tough new EPA-registered biological seed treatment option for guarding crops from sudden death syndrome (SDS) at a fraction of the cost of chemical alternatives.

"These are only the first returns of many trials we've conducted," says Ryan Pottinger, director of blending operations and research for Direct Enterprises, Inc. (DEI), Westfield, Ind., in sharing the data. "But CERAMAX is clearly holding its own out there in comparison with chemical treatments, and it has the clear benefit of offering that control for a fraction of the price."

In plots conducted and supervised by Pottinger and Mitch Ray, DEI seed treatment specialist, both CERAMAX treated and untreated soybean varieties were raised in the same field under the same conditions. Results from fields near Bluffton, Ind., using variety DQT3641N, showed a dramatic benefit.

That variety yielded 73 bushel per acre as untreated, while that same seed treated with CERAMAX brought 81.3 bushel per acre, an 8.3-bushel advantage.Near Marshalltown, Iowa, another variety -- DQT2699N -- yielded 73.5 bu./A. untreated while the same variety treated with CERAMAX tallied 3.8 bushel more at 77.3 bu./A.

"Considering it's an investment of about $7 per acre in seed treatment, even just two bushels at $12/bushel would be a great return," says Ray. "Each year is different, but it's an inexpensive insurance policy for growers in SDS-affected areas." Plus, it's a biological -- it's a natural product, adds Pottinger.

"The fact that it's a biological adds the benefit of being more environmentally-friendly," says Pottinger, who also has noticed an unexpected advantage CERAMAX is providing in the blending process. "When we treated seed for our test plots, it was clear we were getting improved seed coverage from the whole treatment when CERAMAX was in the mix," he explains. "We got better, fuller coverage without having to add more water." He explains that CERAMAX is also more efficient to handle than other chemical treatments. "Other products, such as Ilevo are sold separately and have to be added at a different time," he says. "With CERAMAX, we put it in all at once during seed treatment and that eliminates a step."

These benefits were made available to American soybean growers when DEI searched for a natural answer to the SDS problem.

"We're pleased to be the first to bring CERAMAX to American farmers," says Bill Haubner, DEI co-founder and president. "CERAMAX is the tool today's soybean producers need in the war against Fusarium, the fungal disease causing SDS, and we are very pleased it's proving to be such a winner in the field."

Containing the active ingredient Natamycin, CERAMAX empowers the genetic potential of soybean seeds to increase early-season vigor for a stronger, more uniform emergence and maximum yield potential according to research findings. Haubner says DEI sought to bring the product to the U.S. last year after seeing initial yield trials conducted by Ceradis Crop Protection, based in The Netherlands.

"Across research trials in 10 states, where CERAMAX was added to Acceleron Standard seed treatments, beans showed significantly lower SDS disease incidence and an average yield increase of 4.3 bushel per acre," explains Haubner. "Now we've clearly validated those results with our own field research in Iowa and Indiana." Ceradis, under the banner "Green Innovations," is seeking to bring more crop protection solutions to American farmers.

"Farmers want to be good stewards of their land and water, and we are researching more ways to help them," says Jan Stechmann, vice president of marketing for Ceradis. "We're very pleased to be able to work with the team at DEI to make CERAMAX available in the U.S. and prove its considerable value to soybean growers."


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