As it stands, the agricultural world has a tall task to stay profitable with continued pressure to reduce inputs that improve profitability. Conventional agriculture is dependent on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, inoculants. Farmers work hard to balance how they farm and how the world thinks they should farm. Technology in treatments is constantly improving in effectiveness while reducing the impact on the environment. One of the lesser known, but effective areas of work is in seed coatings.
Seed coatings (not to be mistaken with treated seed, pelleted seed and the like) are engineered to maximize efficiency and effectiveness by bringing all the “good stuff” that helps crops right to where it needs to be, and at the most critical stage in your crops’ life cycle: the seed itself.
Seed coating technology can be a solution to where other ag inputs may fall flat. When compared (and contrasted) side-by-side with the standard suite of chemical applications, seed coatings could be moving agriculture towards a better, healthier, and more cost-effective future than where we’re headed now and with what the ag world relies on today—yes, not just for the environment. But for the farmer right on the farm, too.
Here’s why farmers should transition to reliance on seed coating technology and seed coatings vs. ag chemicals.
Seed coating technology has key advantages.
This may seem like too much of a blanket statement to possibly be true. But it is. Seed coating technology may be the “next phase” that mainstream agriculture moves into, making improvements on the many benefits (and pitfalls) of agro-chemicals in even better and more innovative ways than ever before.
Will seed coating technology completely solve the shortcomings of common ag inputs? Not completely. At least, not right away. That said, as more product development and advancement take place in the seed coating industry, it will certainly be an improvement on the status quo. In the long-term, it can help address areas where our current chemical and other agricultural approaches are limiting and failing farmers, too. This is evident as world- wide the usage of seed coatings is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 8.5%
Seed coatings better protect against disease.
Chemical applications are designed especially for fighting off the common diseases that target our crops. However, these rack up high costs (to the farmer, no less) and require more than one application— or sometimes several— to be effective.
Seed coatings, on the other hand, provide an appealing alternative: bringing disease protection closer to home and straight to the seed, saving both time and money. In the interim some seed coatings even directly incorporate pesticides as part of their disease protection, while other technologies have been developed that don’t require agricultural chemicals at all to protect seeds from disease at their most vulnerable stage.
These technologies may utilize approaches like water protection (such as locking out
moisture) or organic absorbents that likewise keep disease-causing moisture out of your seeds— and yes, these technologies can be non-chemical and completely organic.
Seed coatings provide nutrients more effectively.
Seed coatings are not just about keeping the bad stuff out. They can also be about maintaining and keeping the good stuff in: namely, the RIGHT amount of moisture and, also, important nutrients for your seeds.
Once again, seed coatings can be engineered to incorporate the classic lineup of chemical fertilizers but also contain natural-based fertilizers as well. These can include both micro- and macro-nutrients, as well as nitrogen-fixing bacteria, microbes or inoculants to help get your seeds started and to optimize nutrition.
In short, coated seeds germinate better than uncoated seeds. This means a healthier crop and higher yields.
Seed coatings mitigate the impact of the specific growing region climate.
Excess moisture is the bane of seeds when it comes to disease. But seeds also do just as poorly without moisture, too. Lack of moisture can be addressed with the help of seed coatings designed with materials just porous enough to absorb and keep moisture close, while also preventing excess from waterlogging or building up.
If you’ve ever struggled with uneven or unpredictable germination you ought to explore moisture-modulating seed coatings: a problem which is not well-addressed by any other technology so far (nor as successfully) in the ag world.
Seed coating technology is more affordable, labor- and cost-effective.
There is a constant equation worked on my farmers. How much to invest in inputs to get the optimum amount of yield. Coated seed adds a minimal amount of costs but the return on investment is high due to more efficient planting, germinating and increasing yields. In the long run seed coating technology could potentially save you a bundle on the chemicals and other inputs you’d be using later.
With protection against disease, optimal moisture and the ideal nutrients being delivered straight to seeds as soon as they begin their life cycle, you establish a “preventive” regimen for your crops rather than a curative one through use of chemical applications. This drastically boosts crop health to start while slashing risk of dehydration, disease, deficiency and more much further down the road.
You also greatly cut down on the labor costs and time spent on keeping up on these applications as well— a win-win.
Seed coating technology is more environmentally friendly.
The greatest thing about seed coating technology: it can be engineered just as competitively with conventional ag applications and inputs while still being completely organic and nature-based. This makes it a fantastic tool for sustainable, regenerative, organic and other environmentally-friendly approaches to production.
Best of all: seed coatings can also complement and enhance conventional ag inputs. This in turn helps lessen your operation’s overall impacts on the surrounding environment, nature, wildlife and well-being of the planet.
If farmers are willing to explore the incredible benefits of seed coatings—whether in comparison with typical ag applications, or as a way to enhance them—they’ll be pleased with just how these technologies transform their overhead, yields, labor and bottom line in the long run. They’ll get a taste of how seed coatings will be shaking up the ag tech world for the better in the years to come.