As a seed treatment applicator, it’s to your benefit to accurately apply the proper rate of active ingredient to each batch of seed, batch after batch and day after day. This not only saves you money by not over applying the seed treatment, but also helps to ensure customer satisfaction by not under applying.
However, with application rates as low as 50 milliliters per 100 kilograms (1.7 ounces per 220 pounds) of seed, achieving a high quality application time after time can be a challenge — one that’s not solved by simply adding more water or more colorant.
As a manufacturer and provider of sophisticated seed treatment equipment, there are some common pitfalls I see when I visit facilities to talk about high quality application and our equipment. The five most common are:
- Not stirring or mixing the barrel just prior to application. With a product that might not be homogenous, operators don’t know if the active ingredient is on the seed or at the bottom of the barrel.
- Adding more water or colorant to make the seed shine bright. This practice dilutes the formulation and reduces the efficacy of the product, and it’s usually a cover up for poor quality application. If you add enough water and colorant, you can make any seed look like it’s got even coverage and a high quality treatment.
- Incorrectly or not calculating the weight of a seed batch. The weight of seed varies with each batch. To attain the proper application rate, it’s important to measure and calculate the volume of seed to be treated.
- Setting the tolerance rate too high. It doesn’t matter how you set the dosage rate on your seed treatment system, if the tolerances are too high, you’ll never get a high quality application.
- Not properly cleaning seed prior to treatment. Dust might be the No. 1 cause for not achieving a high quality application. It doesn’t matter if you properly measured the liquids and weighed the seed, dust prevents the treatment from sticking to the seed. Having a dust reduction system as part of your seed treatment equipment can significantly help.
By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can begin to achieve high quality seed treatment application, batch after batch. Today’s market provides increasing opportunities to add value to the seed and really push the envelope in terms of what the industry can do.
A sophisticated PLC system can track recipes, continuously check dosage rates and provide real-time statistics about what’s happening at a particular facility. Machine-to-machine communications makes it easy to maintain quality control, from season to season and facility to facility. This all culminates in helping not just meet customer expectations, but exceeding them. A printout that details the high quality application shines better than any colorant.