Becker Underwood Soybean Seed Treatment Sets New Standards for Component Viability Advanced technology and processes extend days-on-seed viability

March 17, 2010 – Ames, Iowa – Becker Underwood, a global leader in the manufacture of advanced inoculants, growth-enhancing biological and seed colorants and coatings, announces new standards of performance for rhizobia survivability and other components on soybean seed treated with the new VAULT® HP multi-component growth-enhancing system.

“Results from laboratory testing demonstrate up to a 100 percent increase in rhizobia survivability over previous days-on-seed ratings due to patent-pending new technology, and manufacturing and packaging processes,” says Eda Reinot, Becker Underwood director of research and development. “In most cases, this new system allows for an on-seed survival rating of 60 days or more for the rhizobia in our VAULT HP product, and at least 240 days of viability for the growth enhancer and biofungicide portions of the system. That’s significantly more than most competitive products.”

The United States has no regulated minimum standard for guaranteed live rhizobia on seed. Therefore, Becker Underwood has chosen to apply standards used by Agriculture Canada where a minimum of 100,000 live rhizobia per soybean seed must be present. “We believe it’s important to provide U.S. growers a standard of product quality and viability, and we encourage everyone in the inoculant industry to adopt such minimum standards for their rhizobia-containing products,” Reinot says.

Component Viability RatingTM system

Becker Underwood also has announced the development of a Component Viability Rating (CVR) system for a more accurate method of comparing the multi-component seed treatment technologies.

“Our CVR system is intended to help retailers, seed treaters and soybean farmers better understand and compare the differences between multi-component, growth-enhancing seed-treatment technologies,” says Charlie Hale, Becker Underwood marketing lead. “Using our CVR system, Becker Underwood intends to clearly state the days-on-seed survival for each individual element of our multi-component inoculant products. Again, we hope the other inoculant manufacturers will follow our lead.

“Newer biological seed treatment technologies often contain multiple components, each with a different ability to remain viable in packaging or on the seed,” Hale says. “Days-on-seed ratings can be misleading if they apply only to one component of the total product and not necessarily to live rhizobia, which typically are the most sensitive component with the shortest on-seed survivability.

“That’s why we encourage seed treaters and soybean farmers to ask for viability or survival ratings for each part of multi-component products – especially live rhizobia counts,” Hale says. “And, when on-seed survival numbers are cited for rhizobia, we encourage asking if they meet the minimum acceptable level set by the Canadian standard.”

New standards for rhizobia counts and application rate

VAULT HP sets new industry standards for the number of live rhizobia per milliliter of product (a minimum 10 billion) and for the lowest total application rate of just 2.0 fluid ounces of treatment per hundredweight of treated seed.

“The closest competitive product is 40 percent more in application volume,” says Russ Berndt, Becker Underwood inoculants product manager. “The ultra-low application rate means fewer treating and plantability issues, especially when VAULT HP is combined with other compatible seed-applied fungicides and insecticides.

“The benefits of a longer days-on-seed rating include extending the spring treatment and planting window for treaters and growers for greater planting season and work-flow flexibility. Our exclusive patent-pending ‘breathable’ packaging helps maintain the living rhizobia in high numbers in an optimal environment until applied,” Berndt says.

Finally, the VAULT HP system also includes Integral®, an EPA-registered biofungicide that acts to extend protection from Fusarium and Rhizoctonia and complements other chemical fungicide seed treatments.

“All these advanced production and packaging technologies work together to establish new performance standards for the viability of the total VAULT HP system,” Berndt notes. “And, all VAULT soybean inoculant products are still made fresh each season to ensure delivery of active, strong rhizobia for maximum performance in the grower’s field every year.”

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Photo caption:

Becker Underwood technicians determine rhizobial survivability by applying inoculant products and soybean treatments to seed and sampling those seeds at regular intervals. Rhizobia are washed off the seed and diluted with distilled water. A specific volume of the water is then spread on agar plates, incubated for approximately one week and read for the number of rhizobia units present.