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Cutting edge lab work supports seed treatment results

Virtual reality is used as an educational tool at The Seedcare Institute™, Wagga Wagga.
Virtual reality is used as an educational tool at The Seedcare Institute™, Wagga Wagga.

Seed treatment technology is an ever-evolving space that continues to benefit from R&D investment, not limited to the development of new molecules but also in services that help enhance the way these products go onto the seed. 

Giving advisors confidence to recommend seed applied fungicides and insecticides through extensive trials remains vital, matched in importance by services that support consistent application and performance. 

Syngenta is amid an extensive trial program for VICTRATO®, an industry-first seed treatment for the control of crown rot in wheat, durum and barley. The Seedcare Institute (SCI) – a global network of Syngenta laboratories - helped optimise the formulation for Australian conditions. The Seedcare Institute Wagga Wagga Commercial Manager Megan Williams said having a local laboratory, part of this global network, benefits the industry in numerous ways. 

“People might not be aware of the extent of the work we conduct at The Seedcare Institute, it plays a vital role in the assessment of new products like VICTRATO®, ensuring it has the qualities Australian cereal growers need,” she said. 

“But our work at Wagga Wagga isn’t limited to new product testing, the technology in our lab means we can assess treated samples against key criteria while supporting the industry.

“Seed graders using Syngenta products can send us samples for analysis, and we’ll assess coverage quality, dust-off and flowability, which are all factors that determine ease of use and protection from seed and soilborne pests at establishment.” 


Syngenta Seedcare Institute™ Wagga Wagga Commercial Manager, Megan Williams
Syngenta Commercial Manager for The Seedcare Institute™, Wagga Wagga, Megan Williams.


Mobile seed graders have supported continued growth in cereal seed treatment adoption, helping take the hassle out of self-treatment while supporting repeatable results on-farm. 

Townrow Quality Seed Grading Service has dramatically expanded its services over the years from its base at Moama, in southern New South Wales. Clay Townrow said the family purchased the business back in 1997, when it was grading into 70 to 90 kilograms bags.  

By 2001 the family had already transitioned into trucks and field bins, with the purchase of a large-scale Edmonds-built truck.  

“Two years ago, we got a third truck and hired an employee and that's added a lot of flexibility,” Mr Townrow said.   

Mr Townrow said there was sometimes a balance between the agronomic benefits of a product and the ability to dress it onto grain.  

Over the years he’s observed an improvement in different products and formulations with some of the latest options proving very good.  

“Some of the formulations of the early products were challenging to deal with.  There’s been a lot of formulation re-works and then VIBRANCE® from Syngenta came along. The VIBRANCE® formulation is very good to deal with.”  

Mr Townrow adopted the seed applied insecticide CRUISER® 350FS three years ago and ‘hasn’t looked back’.  

“The formulation is great,” he said.  “It stores well, I have some CRUISER® 350FS sitting here from last season [but] give it a stir every now and then and the formulation is still good and that's what we want."  

Mr Townrow said the ongoing research and development Syngenta conducts, not just in the discovery of new molecules for the control of particular pests and diseases but also in formulation, is evident in the performance of products.  

“There's a fine balance with all of it and I understand all the challenges they go through to get the loading right. It has to be user friendly [because] there's no point having something that is a fantastic product, but it goes on like concrete."  


Syngenta Seedcare Institute rub-off machine
Using a rub-off machine, technicians can simulate how treated grain performers on-farm, in augers and planting equipment.


Seed Shield, one of the country’s largest seed graders and treatment services, was at the Syngenta Seedcare Institute launch at Wagga Wagga in 2018. 

“We’ve found VIBRANCE® is still the superior formulation to work with,” Seed Shield National Operations Manager Karen Smith said. 

“We’ve applied other premium seed treatments over time but had issues with application that have caused significant equipment downtime. Also, having The Seedcare Institute behind VIBRANCE® is providing our business with unrivalled product support and information, which adds huge value and peace of mind.”  

Karen said of the 25 or so products Seed Shield uses, the operators say VIBRANCE® is number one when it comes to ease-of-use.  

“Over the past six seasons since we first used VIBRANCE®, we’ve always come back to VIBRANCE® as a product that we can rely on. 

“And in terms of mixing a fungicide and pesticide, they say VIBRANCE® and CRUISER® 350FS are a match made in heaven.  

“Together, they offer very even coverage, smooth seed flow and no blockages – even at very high rates it remains very smooth.” 

For more information about VIBRANCE®, CRUISER® 350FS application, or VICTRATO® trials, contact your local Syngenta representative.



About Syngenta Australia
Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities. To learn more visit and