|Gayle Casner of Carrolton MO, shows what her hand looks like when handling graphite in the planter. She prefers the Bayer Fluency Powder.|
In 2014 Bayer conducted another demo program with their new fluency agent. The results were extremely positive. The new Bayer fluency lubricant is designed to reduce dust off with pneumatic planters that have typically used either graphite or talc as lubricants to reduce friction and improve uniformity of planting.The use of planter lubricants by growers in vacuum planters is a standard recommendation by planter manufacturers. Talc, graphite, and talc/graphite combination products reduce seed-to-seed friction and improve uniformity of planting. The role of planter lubricants at planting time and its effects on the amount of dust released from the planter exhaust has been raised as a possible contributor to exposure to bees. As a result of this concern, Bayer CropScience began looking at a possible alternative that would reduce the amount of dust. With more than 25 years of supporting honey bee health and the vital role of bees in agriculture, Bayer CropSciences began looking for alternatives that would reduce dust emitted from vacuum planters.
What is Fluency agent? It is a polyethylene wax lubricant replacement for talc and graphite. The Fluency product is easy to use and is a non-abrasive white powder. It can be used on all makes and models of planters. It had no impact on planter accuracy. In addition, it reduced seed coat abrasion and maintained the integrity of the seed coat.
This product can replace either graphite or talc on seed corn or soybeans. The tests show a 90% reduction in total dust with Fluency agent vs. talc and 65% percent reduction in active ingredient with Fluency agent vs. talc. We tested it on many planters with various seed delivery systems in 2013 and 2014.
- 99% of growers responding noted that differences in the condition of their planter mechanism such as wear on disc/plate, etc. was equal to or better than their current lubricant.
- 92% of growers said that planter cleanup was equal to or easier than with their current lubricant.
The product works best with 1/8 cup of lubricant per seed unit. It is highly recommended to be stirred into the seed rather than just some thrown in the seed box and left for gravity to uniformly distribute it throughout the seed. When filling large central- fill hoppers, growers should add the Fluency agent to seed as it is filling the hopper to assure even distribution. There is actually an alert on the lid to draw attention to use rate for the product.
This product is amazingly slick and will work on seed corn and soybeans replacing either talc or graphite. We feel sure you will be hearing more about this product in the years ahead as it helps reduce the risk of potential exposure to non-target insects.
Management is considering this as an option to buy from Burrus Account Managers or dealers yet before spring.