Seed Treatments – More Than a Pretty Face

- Tom Kroll

Seed treatments are more than simply insecticides and fungicides. They include sundry items like colorants, polymers, and biological enhancements and are more than just than a pretty face. They carry a premium message, provide stewardship and ultimately performance.

Color and Polymers

Color is important. With your premium seed there needs to be a premium image. Color, color intensity and shine are all important to a premium image as they allow you to go beyond the simple red, blue or green and create an image that can differentiate your products.

Beyond color are polymers. There are a number of considerations for using polymers. First, polymers help in the treating plants as well as in planting. The proper polymer helps throughput the seed treating operation by reducing bridging. With the precision planters that allow farmers to watch seed drop, there must be good flow and polymers allow seed producers to obtain smooth seed flow through farmers’ planters.

From a human and environmental standpoint, polymers reduce dust and keep it on the seed which reduces environmental and human exposure. This is especially important with neonicotinoid-treated seed and the pollinator issues.

Most responsible companies are suggesting that even if you do not use neonic insecticides but still have a lot of solids in the treating slurry that a polymer be used to keep treatments on the seed and reduce human and environmental exposure.

Biological Enhancements

The category of biological enhancements includes everything from the rhizobia for root nodulation to growth regulators that accompany the seed treatment. These products are for everything from nitrogen fixation to metabolic regulation and can be biological organisms, biological extracts or chemicals, including pop-up fertilizers and micro nutrients.

Lumped in with these are products currently being developed that influence water regulation in the seed. Some of the products can improve water penetration to increase germination under dry or cool conditions.

Obviously, there is a long list of products that suggest there is more to seed treatments than just insecticides and fungicides.

The take-away from this is to consider color and shine and find the right fit that addresses your premium seed offerings. Consider polymers for several reasons. First and last, it is the responsible thing to do to reduce human and environmental exposure.

And consider which of the available seed enhancers can help you produce the best seeds for your geography and differentiate your products. Why not make your seed look its best while using seed enhancements to address customer needs, improve yield and set yourself apart from your competition?