When fungicide wheat seed treatments may be advisable
Fungicide seed treatments are advisable if seed is infected with Fusarium head scab, or other diseases such as loose smut, common bunt, or black point. Fungicide seed treatments are also advisable for wheat planted in fields with reported flag smut. Generally speaking, fungicide seed treatments can help improve germination and seedling vigor of wheat seed infected with scab, as well as bunt, loose smut, and black point. In the case of flag smut, seed treatments will help prevent the re-occurrence of this disease. Fungicide seed treatments are also advisable if seeding dates are unusually early or late; in no-till situations, or on low-test-weight seed simply to protect the seed against seed-borne diseases, seed rots, and seedling blights that may reduce vigor beyond the already reduced vigor in a low test weight seed.
Fusarium head scab of wheat was a problem in parts of Kansas in 2015. Some areas reported seed quality problems, with germination rates below 80 percent. Seed lots with germination below 80 percent are strong candidates for a fungicide seed treatment, or at least increased seeding rates to compensate for the low germination. More information about using wheat damaged by Fusarium for seed can be found in a previous Agronomy e-Update article: https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/eu_article.throck?article_id=617 .
Producers and others can get the latest information on seed treatments in the newly revised version of Seed Treatment Fungicides for Wheat Disease Management 2015, K-State Research and Extension publication MF2955 at: http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF2955.pdf
Erick De Wolf, Extension Plant Pathology