Harvesting more bushels on the same acreage over the years leads to a diminishing reserve of essential nutrients in the soil and to a lower nutrient density in the seed. Once grasslands, Western Canadian Prairie soils have been converted to agriculture, used for high value crops such as cereals, canola, pulses, potatoes and others. Crop removal keeps increasing while replenishment remains the same or diminished, due to a variety of factors, such as tighter rotations, tighter budgets and slow mineralisation. It is no surprise to see sluggish crops struggling for emergence and establishment early in the spring.
To remediate the lack of essential nutrients in the seed, seed dressings, also known as Primers®, were developed back in the early 2000s to provide the seed with enough nutrients to carry it through until the root systems can develop and tap into the side-banded fertilizer. Most Primers were formulated with a phosphorus, potassium and zinc base – nutrients not readily available to the crop at seeding due to cold and/or wet conditions.