Protect your autumn investment with KickStart

The autumn is a busy period and you only want to plant each paddock once. Often the window for establishment is short, so protecting this autumn’s investment from insects and fungal pathogens with KickStartTM seed treatment is good insurance. Seed treatment gives seedlings up to 6 weeks of protection from these typical damaging pasture pests.

Lucerne flea damage comparing treated and not treated

An establishing seedling is the most vulnerable stage of a plant’s life. It is using the energy from the seed it germinates from until its leaves are developed enough to absorb sunlight and generate energy of its own.


During this phase, anything that causes that seedling to spend extra energy can cause the plant to die. Sap sucking redlegged earth mites and lucerne flea or fungal pathogens can cause widespread damage before anyone realises there is a problem. Seed treatment can provide some reassurance of establishment being successful. 


Seed treatment is not a silver bullet and should be used in conjunction with industry best practice with insecticides at spray out time and slug bait (if direct drilling or slugs are a known problem). The following list are the insects that Kickstart provides some protection against:
  • Cutworm
  • Red legged earth mite (RLEM)
  • Blue oat mite
  • Yellow headed cockchafer
  • African black beetle 
  • Lucerne flea (suppression)
Red legged earth mite (RLEM) on plantain

Situations that are high risk and therefore where seed treatment is highly recommended include direct drilling (less ground disturbance), paddocks that have come out of old pasture, annual ryegrass or Italian ryegrass (as they host pasture pests) and areas known for having high populations of the pests listed above. Slow establishing perennial species like cocksfoot, tall fescue and phalaris should always be planted with seed treatment and high value pastures like perennial ryegrass, plantain and chicory are better planted with seed treatment. 

If grass pastures or forage brassicas and broadleaf pastures are to be grazed within 6 or 8 weeks of germination, then seed should be planted bare, this is due to it being within the grazing withholding period. Other times when seed treatment may not be as necessary is when the paddock has been cultivated out of a summer crop like brassica. It is still important to look at the paddock in question to see if pests are present, they can move in after the autumn break, so often won’t be visible at the time of sowing. 

For more information on specific seed treatments, please click on the following link:


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