CADERNO DE CIÊNCIAS AGRÁRIAS
Agrarian Sciences Journal
Does seed treatment affect wheat yield components?
Joice Aline Freiberg
1
*, Marcos Paulo Ludwig
2
, Eduardo Girotto
3
DOI: https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2021.29642
Abstract
A variety of products have been used on seeds to maintain or increase their grain yield potential. In this study, we
evaluated the effect of different seed treatment products, such as micronutrients, polymer, fungicide, and insecticide
on the yield components and grain yield of wheat. Wheat seeds of the cultivar “Tec Vigore” were subjected to 12
treatments, in different combinations, using the following protective seed products: micronutrient 1 (1% Mn, 0.1%
Mo, 10% Zn), micronutrient 2 (0.3% B, 0.3% Co, 3% Zn), polymer (ColorSeed HE
®
), fungicide (Vitavax
®
-Thiram
200 SC), and insecticide (Cruiser
®
350 FS). At the point of physiological maturity, we proceeded with the following
evaluations of the wheat crop: the number of tillers per plant, the number of fertile tillers per plant, grains per ear,
the mass of grains per ear, and grain yield. Seed treatment did not affect the number of grains per ear or the mass of
grains per ear. The number of tillers per plant and the number of fertile tillers per plant were higher in seeds treated
with fungicide + insecticide; however, seed treatment did not significantly affect wheat grain yield.
Keywords: Ears. Grain yield. Tillers. Triticum aestivum L..
O tratamento de sementes afeta os componentes de rendimento do trigo?
Resumo
Uma variedade de produtos vem sendo utilizada no tratamento de sementes para manter ou aumentar o potencial
produtivo de grãos. Neste estudo, avaliou-se o efeito de diferentes produtos aplicados no tratamento de sementes,
como micronutrientes, polímero, fungicida e inseticida sobre os componentes do rendimento e a produtividade do
trigo. Sementes de trigo da cultivar Tec Vigore foram submetidas a doze tratamentos, em diferentes combinações,
utilizando os seguintes produtos protetores de sementes: micronutriente 1 (1% Mn, 0,1% Mo, 10% Zn), micronu-
triente 2 (0,3% B, 0,3% Co; 3 % Zn), polímero (ColorSeed HE
®
), fungicida (Vitavax
®
-Thiram 200 SC) e inseticida
(Cruiser
®
350 FS). Na maturação fisiológica do trigo, procedemos as seguintes avaliações: número de perfilhos por
planta, número de perfilhos férteis por planta, grãos por espiga, massa de grãos por espiga e produtividade de grãos.
O tratamento de sementes não afetou o número de grãos por espiga nem a massa de grãos por espiga. O número de
perfilhos por planta e o número de perfilhos férteis por planta foram superiores em sementes tratadas com fungicida
+ inseticida, entretanto o tratamento de sementes não afetou significativamente a produtividade de grãos de trigo.
Palavras-chave: Espigas. Perfilhos. Produção de grãos. Triticum aestivum L..
1
Universidade Federal de Santa Maria. Santa Maria, RS. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9086-9882
2
Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Sul. Ibirubá, RS. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1350-0181
3
Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Sul. Bento Gonçalves, RS. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5389-5325
*Autor para correspondência: jaf.freiberg@gmail.com
Recebido para publicação em 25 de fevereiro de 2021. Aceito para publicação em 01 de abril de 2021
e-ISSN: 2447-6218 / ISSN: 2447-6218 / © 2009, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Todos os direitos reservados.
Freiberg, J. A. et al.
2
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 13, p. 01–05, https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2021.29642
Introduction
Seed treatment promotes the protection of seeds
and seedlings against diseases transmitted by seeds and
insect pests, which affect the emergence of seedlings,
their growth, and the grain yield potential. Based on the
importance of seed treatments, there have been studies
reporting their effect on the initial performance.
In initial seedling establishment, seed treatment
can compensate for systems with smaller plant establish-
ments (Beres et al., 2016), especially those from low
vigor seeds (Heer, 1998). However, only a few studies
have reported the effect of seed treatment on the grain
yield of the cultures, notably in cultures such as wheat.
Considering grain yield, Freiberg et al. (2017)
found that seed treatment, which included the polymer
+ micronutrient treatment (1% Mn, 0.1% Mo, 10% Zn),
had a negative effect on wheat grain yield and reduced
hectoliter weight. Conversely, Rufino et al. (2013) repor-
ted an increase in the grain mass per plant after the seed
treatment with Zn. Meanwhile, the use of fungicide, Zn,
and polymer, either alone or in combination, did not show
a significant effect on the hectoliter weight of wheat.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the
effect of different products used in seed treatments, such
as micronutrients, polymer, fungicide, and insecticide, on
the yield components and on the grain yield of wheat.
Material and methods
The experiment was carried out on crops grown
during 2013 in the experimental area of the Instituto
Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande
do Sul, Campus Ibirubá, RS, Brazil. Wheat seeds of the
cultivar “Tec Vigore” that were used in the sowing were
produced in the 2012 crop. These seeds belonged to the
same genetic category, and presented an 80% germination
rate and had 93% purity. Wheat seeds were subjected to
12 treatments, in different combinations, using the follo-
wing protective seed products: micronutrient 1 (1% Mn,
0.1% Mo, 10% Zn), micronutrient 2 (0.3% B, 0.3% Co,
3% Zn), polymer (ColorSeed HE
®
), fungicide (Vitavax
®
Thiram 200 SC), and insecticide (Cruiser
®
350 FS). Doses
of 1.5 mL .kg
-1
; 1.2 mL kg
-1
; 2.5 mL kg
-1
; and 1.0 mL kg
-1
were used in the treatments of micronutrients, polymer,
fungicide, and insecticide, respectively. The mixture of
products and water was prepared in plastic bags with
a capacity of 2 kg. Thereafter, 0.5 kg of wheat seeds
were packaged and shaken until completely coated. The
experiment was carried out in randomized blocks, with
twelve treatments and four replications per treatment,
totaling 48 experimental units.
The experiment was implemented in June 2013,
through direct sowing, after the soybean culture. The plots
consisted of 20 rows that were five meters in length and
spaced at 0.17 meters. The crop management followed
the recommendations of the Comissão de Química e
Fertilidade do Solo – RS/SC [Commission of Chemistry
and Soil Fertility – RS/SC] (2004) and the technical in-
formation for the control of weeds, diseases, and pests
in wheat crops 2013 (IAPAR, 2012). At the point of phy-
siological maturity, we proceeded with the following
evaluations of the wheat crop: the number of tillers per
plant, determined by counting the tillers of each plant
in 0.5 m; the number of fertile tillers per plant, by cou-
nting the tillers with at least one grain; grains per ear,
by counting the number of grains of seven ears collected
randomly in each plot; and the mass of grain per ear by
determining the mass of grains in each ear. Furthermore,
we evaluated the grain yield by harvesting 6 central rows
measuring 3 meters in each plot. The grain mass was
weighted, then the value was adjusted to 13% humidity
and expressed in kg ha
-1
.
The data were analyzed considering twelve
treatments and four repetitions in a randomized block
design. The analysis of variance and test of hypotheses
were performed to verify the effect of the treatments, and
logarithmic transformations of data (log10) were applied
when the normality of data was violated. When signi-
ficant, the means were compared using the Scott-Knott
test at a 5% probability level in the package ‘easyanova’
(Arnhold, 2013). Yield component values were also cor-
related with the grain yield using Pearson’s correlation
at a 5% probability level. All analyses were performed
on R (R Core Team 2019).
Results and discussion
Seed treatment did not affect the number of
grain per ear or the mass of grain per ear (Figure 1,
Table 1). However, a significant effect of seed treatment
was observed on the number of tillers per plant and the
number of fertile tillers per plant (Figure 1, Table 1).
For the control treatment (C), and the fungicide and
insecticide (FI), the number of tillers was 60% and 99%
higher than the average of other seed treatments.
The number of tillers is an important variable
associated with grain yield, especially when tillers provide
ears (Camponogara et al., 2016). We observed a positive
effect from using fungicide and insecticide (FI), as well
as with the micronutrients treatments (M1 and M2),
on the number of fertile tillers. However, this effect did
not differ significantly from the control. Conversely, the
lowest number of fertile tillers was obtained when the
fungicide and insecticide were mixed with the polymer.
Does seed treatment affect wheat yield components?
3
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 13, p. 01–05, https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2021.29642
Table 1 – Summary of the analysis of variance (p value and coefficient of variation %) and Pearson correlation.
Analysis of variance Pearson correlation*
Variable
p value
CV (%) Correlation
p value
Grains per ear 0.7557 7.95 -0.1665 0.2581
Mass of grains per ear 0.3796 8.82 -0.1175 0.1175
Number of tillers per plant 0.0049 33.14 0.0942 0.5244
Number of fertile tillers per plant 0.0099 38.42 0.1262 0.3928
Grain yield 0.8636 10.65 - -
*Coefficients referrer to the association between grain yield and the respective yield component.
Furthermore, the quantitative variables of yield
components did not show a significant association with the
grain yield (Table 1) and no significant effect of seed treat-
ment was observed on grain yield (Figure 2). According
to Vesohoski et al. (2011), the length of the ear, number
of spikelets per ear, and the number of grains per ear
have a positive association with grain yield. Even though
we have not found a significant correlation between the
number of tillers and grain yield, Valério et al. (2013)
pointed out that the genotype significantly affects the
production of tillers and noted that expression of this
characteristic depends on the sowing density. In this sen-
se, genotypes with high tillering potential should adopt
a lower plant density per meter to obtain greater grain
yield. Among the important characteristics to consider
when selecting wheat genotypes in Brazil, Vesohoski et al.
(2011) reported that the weight of a thousand grains is
associated with the number of grains per ear. In addition,
Desheva and Kachakova et al. (2013) reported that the
length of the ear, grains per ear, and the grain mass per
ear are also relevant, as well as the number of ears per
unit area (Zhou et al. 2018).
Regarding the seed treatment, a few studies have
reported its effects on wheat yield components. Rufino et
al. (2013) observed an increase in grain mass per plant
after seed treatment with Zn. Additionally, while they
found that Zn significantly affected the yield, no signi-
ficant effect on the hectoliter weight of the wheat was
observed after the seed treatment with fungicide, zinc
(Zn), and polymer, alone or in combination (Rufino et
al., 2013). Meanwhile, the control seeds produced the
lowest mass per plant, but this group had the highest
hectoliter weight. Furthermore, Freiberg et al. (2017)
did not report a significant and positive effect of seed
treatment on grain yield after treatments with micro-
nutrients, polymer, fungicide, and insecticide, whether
isolated or in combinations. Conversely, Turkington et
al. (2016) reported that the combination of fungicide
and insecticide provided the highest yield and economic
return. These contrasting responses might have been
due to the protective products used on seed treatment,
the cultivars, and the environmental and management
conditions of the different stages of the phenological
development of wheat crops.
From a critical viewpoint, Pedrini et al. (2016)
question the use of products in seed treatment, especially
the polymers used in the coating. Although the coating is
perceived as a high-tech method that provides modifica-
tions to facilitate the handling of seeds and the addition
of other products, these authors highlight the need for
research to substantiate these uses and question whether
the amount of material used in coating is necessary. In this
sense, more studies testing different protective products
and their combinations should be carried out to elucidate
the influence of seed treatment on the yield components
of wheat, as well as on grain yield.
Conclusions
Seed treatment with micronutrients, polymer,
fungicide, and insecticide, whether separately or in com-
binations, does not affect the number of grains per ear or
the mass of grain per ear. However, the number of tillers
and fertile tillers may increase after the seed treatment
with fungicide and insecticide without influencing the
grain yield of wheat.
Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the Fundação de Amparo
à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul [Foundation
for Research Support of the State of Rio Grande do Sul] -
FAPERGS, for the scholarship granted to the first author.
We would also like to express gratitude to the members
of the Laboratório de Sementes e Grãos of the Instituto
Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Rio Grande
do Sul – Campus Ibirubá, for their assistance in the field
and laboratory, and also to the mother of the first author
for assisting with the analysis of the yield components.
Freiberg, J. A. et al.
4
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 13, p. 01–05, https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2021.29642
Figure 1 – Yield components of wheat seed subjected, or not, to seed treatment with M1–Micronutrient 1 (1% Mn; 0.1%
Mo; 10% Zn), M2–Micronutrient 2 (0.3% B; 3% Co; Zn 3%), P¬–polymer, and Fungicide (F) + Insecticide
(I). C–control.
Does seed treatment affect wheat yield components?
5
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 13, p. 01–05, https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2021.29642
Figure 2 – Grain yield (kg ha-1) of wheat subjected, or not, to seed treatment with M1–Micronutrient 1 (1% Mn; 0.1%
Mo; 10% Zn), M2–Micronutrient 2 (0.3% B; 3% Co; Zn 3%), P¬–polymer, and Fungicide (F) + Insecticide
(I). C–control.
References
Arnhold, E. 2013. Package in the R environment for analysis of variance
and complementary analyses. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research
and Animal Science, 50: 488-492. Doi: https://doi.org/10.11606/
issn.1678-4456.v50i6p488-492.
Beres, B. L.; Turkington, T. K.; Kutcher, H. R.; Irvine, B.; Johnson, E.
N.; O’Donovan, J. T.; Harker, K. N.; Holzapfel, C. B.; Mohr, R.; Peng,
G.; Spaner, D. M. 2016. Winter Wheat Cropping System Response to
Seed Treatments, Seed Size, and Sowing Density. Agronomy Journal,
108: 1101-1111. Doi: https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj2015.0497.
Comissão de Química e Fertilidade do Solo RS/SC - CQFS-RS/SC. 2004.
Manual de adubação e de calagem para o Estado do Rio Grande do Sul
e Santa Catarina. Porto Alegre: UFRGS, 400p.
Camponogara, A. S.; Oliveira, G. A.; Georgin, J.; Rosa, A. L. D. 2016.
Avaliação dos componentes de rendimento do trigo quando submetido
a diferentes fontes de nitrogênio. Revista Eletrônica em Gestão,
Educação e Tecnologia Ambiental, 20: 524−532. Doi: https://doi.
org/105902/2236117019723.
Descheva, G.; Kachakova, S. 2013. Correlations between the main
structural elements of yield in common wheat cultivars. Plant Science,
50: 5-8.
Freiberg, J. A.; Ludwig, M. P.; Avelar, S. A. G.; Girotto, E. 2017. Seed
treatment and its impact on wheat crop yield potential. Journal of
Seed Science, 39: 280-287. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1590/2317-
1545v39n3177754.
Heer, W. F. 1998. Wheat emergence and yield as related to cultivar and
seed treatment. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 101:
82-88. Doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/3627954.
IAPAR. Instituto Agronômico do Paraná. 2012. Informações técnicas
para trigo e triticale safra 2013. In: VI Reunião da Comissão Brasileira
de Pesquisa de Trigo e Triticale. Londrina,PR: Instituto Agronômico
do Paraná, 220p. Doi: http://www.iapar.br/arquivos/File/zip_pdf/
TrigoeTriticale 2013.pdf.
Pedrini, S.; Merritt, D. J.; Stevens, J.; Dixon, K. 2016. Seed coating:
science or marketing spin? Trends in Plant Science, 22: 106-116. Doi:
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2016.11.002.
R Core Team. 2019. R: A language and environment for statistical
computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.
Available on: https://www.R-project.org/.
Rufino, C. A.; Tavares, L. C.; Brunes, A. P.; Lemes, E. S.; Villela, F. A.
2013. Treatment of wheat seed with zinc, fungicide, and polymer: seed
quality and yield. Journal of Seed Science, 35: 106-112. Doi: https://
dx.doi.org/10.1590/S2317-15372013000100015.
Valério, I. P.; Carvalho, F. I. F.; Benin, G.; Silveira, G.; Silva, J. A. G.;
Nornberg, R.; Hagemann, T.; Luche, H. S.; Oliveira, A. C. 2013. Seeding
density in wheat: the more, the merrier? Scientia Agricola. 70: 176-
184. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162013000300006.
Turkington, T. K.; Beres, B. L.; Kutcher, R. H.; Irvine, B.; Johnson, E.
N.; O’Donovan, J. T.; Harker, K. N.; Holzapfel, C. B.; Mohr, R.; Peng,
G.; Stevenson, F. C. 2016. Winter wheat yields are increased by seed
treatment and fall-applied fungicide. Agronomy Journal, 108: 1379-
1389 Doi: https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj2015.0573.
Vesohoski, F.; Marchioro, V. S.; Franco, F. A.; Cantelle A. 2011.
Componentes do rendimento de grãos em trigo e seus efeitos diretos
e indiretos na produtividade. Revista Ceres, 58: 337-341. https://doi.
org/10.1590/S0034-737X2011000300014.
Zhou, C.; Liang, D.; Yang, X.; Yang, H.; Yue, J.; Yang, G. 2018. Wheat
ears counting in field conditions based on multi-feature optimization
and TWSVM. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9: 1024. Doi: https://doi.
org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01024.