Feb. 13, 2020
With many traditional chemical seed dressings for maize being withdrawn, there is increased interest in biological dressings. New for 2020, Starcover from LG is already creating a lot of interest with growers looking to get crops off to the best possible start.
“Developed in response to environmental regulation and the need to reduce dependence on chemical products, Starcover uses a combination of a plant extract that accelerates root development and increases root numbers and length, along with plant growth promoting bacteria that help improve nutrient uptake and plant growth,” explains Richard Camplin, LG Seeds Technical Manager.
“The result is plants which develop a stronger root system, allowing them to flourish during the critical period immediately after germination, and continue to grow strongly throughout the season.” “The stronger root system means crops are better able to withstand environmental stresses during the growing season and our trials show significant benefits.”
In trials over several years, Starcover treated crops have had 18% more roots than untreated plants. The root system is visibly bigger with better defined root hairs. Together, these ensure increased uptake of both nutrients and water.
Two weeks after drilling, treated plants were on average 5.1% higher and 15.4% higher five weeks after drilling, meaning they were capturing solar energy more efficiently and sooner. This is important, as stronger plants are less at risk of damage by birds; a concern on many farms, given that the previously widely used bird repellent, is now unavailable. The stronger root system means plants have more growth in the early pre-flowering stages which contributes to a better developed plant.
Most importantly from the growers’ perspective, when harvested, treated plants yielded between 3-7% more dry matter per hectare and forage was on average up to 2.6% higher DM. In simple terms, Starcover resulted in more feed available, worth an extra £53 per hectare in terms of extra dry matter production, and a further £660 in extra potential milk production. “Starcover represents a major step forward in seed treatments and will bring some exciting benefits to growers.”