Preparation of seeds for sowing winter crops

In recent years, farmers face ever more often the consequences of climate change. This manifests itself in changed varieties of entomofauna and in diseases of plants and weeds. That is why changes are made in the seed preparation technology, seeding time, and winter crop seeding rates. What new solutions does EkoNiva Company offer under such circumstances?

Willie Drews, doctor of agronomy

In its 18 years of farming work, EkoNiva-APK has become one of Russia's leading agricultural holdings. Different crops are produced here on an area of 160,000 ha. An important role is played by seed production of field crops. Each year the company's farms obtain up to 20,000 tonnes of certificated seeds of grains, leguminous plants, perennial herbs, and potatoes. Seed production includes the varieties of Russian, Ukrainian, German, French, Scandinavian and Canadian selection.

EkoNiva’s Zashchitnoye LLC seed production farm pays special attention to an improved seed preparation method. Firstly, obsolete equipment was replaced by modern machines. Now the seeds undergo the following stages of cleaning:

- primary separation;
- secondary preparation on the screen cleaner;
- selection of small and oblong fractions on the assorting units;
- selection of only full-weight seeds on the pneumatic table.


After such four-stage cleaning, the seeds turn out in a fine state, with a high germination capability and excellent sprouting capacity.

However, it is not enough just to prepare full weight and fine quality seeds. They also need protection against diseases and pests. In recent years, pests whose larvae inhabit the crop stems and ruin the plants at the early stages of development became even more virulent than the diseases of the spring and winter crops. Three types of grain flies are particularly dangerous among the in-haulm vermin. They are the Swedish fly, the Hessian fly and the wheat fly. The grain flies are particularly harmful during early seeding of winter crops. This is so because the sprouting coincides in time with the arrival of the Swedish, Hessian and wheat flies and their egg laying. There are two ways of fighting the crop flies:

- an agro-technical method involving later seeding of winter crops (after 15-20 September). This is linked to the risk of the delayed development and absence of autumn tillering. Late seeding often reduces the harvest.

- a chemical method employing insecticides. The assortment of preparations against crop flies contains insecticides based on Thiametoxam and Imidacloprid registered as seed processing agents. Due to their systematic activity, these preparations reliably protect the plants against fly larvae.

In autumn 2011, the seed pilot production plant at Zashchitnoye LLC carried out an experiment on how disinfectants influence the wheat haulm stand density (the pilot plot supervisor G.N. Dyudina). On all the plots the seeding rate was 400 grains/m2 or 4 million sprouting grains per hectare. Counting showed as of 30 May 2012 the following density of the productive ears per 1 m2:

- Control (without disinfectant) – 228 pcs.
- Lamador (fungicide) – 290 pcs.
- Cruiser (insecticide) – 360 pcs.
- Lamador + Cruiser – 436 pcs.

The desired Gubernator Dona winter wheat haulm stand density was obtained only on the variety with the joint use of Lamador and Cruiser.

The experiment results show that disinfecting the seeds by efficient systematic insecticide against latent haulm ruining vermin is becoming a mandatory component of the technology. The EkoNiva APK-Holding farms universally use on their production winter and spring crops a mixture of fungicide (Lamador) and insecticide (Cruiser). Such a disinfectant costs much more (500 to 700 rubles per hectare), but makes it possible to:

- start the sowing of winter wheat earlier, thereby extending the seeding peaks in autumn;
- improve the spring after-growing at the optimum seeding time when the winter wheat enters winter at the tillering stage;
- reduce the seeding rate.


In the end, better haulm control makes it possible to produce every year the optimum amount of ears per 1 m2   and to stabilise the grain crop yield.

EkoNiva-Semena offers for winter sowing the Russian selected Biryuza and Gubernator Dona varieties of winter wheat. Those are prepared based on new equipment. They feature excellent seeding properties and are disinfected as per customer requirement.