Agriculture around the world is on the precipice of big change. The recent Global Seed Coating Market Report touches on how seed coating technology and its accompanying markets have been some of the most captivating and fast-growing segments in the industry to date — with revenue globally expected to go up by over 1 billion USD by 2027 in only 4 years.
These are sure signs of where the agricultural world is headed: towards more successful yields, better profits, better environmental impacts, and more satisfied farmers. Seed coating addresses all of these factors in ways that are also both more sustainable and more affordable to the average grower. This means farmers simultaneously save on overhead costs while experiencing better yields.
In essence: seed coating offers win-win solutions to many of today’s agricultural dilemmas while still looking towards the future to establish better improvements.
The seed coating market and technology can be quickly summarized as:
- Polymers – Assist with adherence of other additives to seed surface, prevent dust off, and boost seed uniformity for better handling, application, planting, and shelf-life (while also providing some sealing-off protection against moisture and disease)
- Colorants – Make the seed appear more attractive, easier to see during the planting or other application process, and less appetizing to pests
- Minerals/Pumice – Provide extra nutrients for greater seedling success along with re-mineralizing and enriching soils
- Active ingredients – Can include beneficial microbes, such as nematodes or rhizobia, to enhance nutrient availability and protection against pests or disease
- Binders – Provide many functions: most notably enhanced sealing of moisture as close to seed as possible, and for boosting germination rates
- Protective chemicals - Insecticides, fungicides, nematicides to protect seeds from being eaten or going bad, thereby boosting germination
Feed Grains are Predicted to Take Up the Largest Share of the Market
According to the report, the focus of the seed coating market and seed coating technology lies squarely on grain crops: corn, alfalfa, rice, wheat, sorghum, barley, and more, for both feed and human consumption. Much of this is driven by a growing global population that needs to be fed sustainably.
All row crop and horticultural industries are poised to integrate seed coating technology to some extent outside of alfalfa and grass use cases including: lettuce, celery, onion, tobacco, pepper, tomato, and carrot production.
Polymers Are the Most popular seed coating technology
A wide variety of different seed coating technologies have been engineered to meet agricultural demands, though by far polymer coatings on seeds have received the most widespread growth. Polymer technology alone accounts for over 600 million of the seed coating market in 2021.
The functions of polymer seed coatings include easier seed handling, uniformity, and protection from dust, disease, and excess moisture. They’re also used to adhere many other types of coatings and technology to the seed successfully. Polymers are closely followed by active ingredient, colorant, and binder technologies in terms of market value and revenue.
Seed Coatings Helps Address Drought and Irrigation Issues in Arid Regions
While the U.S. and Europe may take up the largest share of the market, many dry regions of the world are gravitating toward the moisture-retaining capabilities of seed coating technologies and climbing quickly up the demand ladder.
Countries like Turkey, South Africa, India, and others have notably under-developed irrigation technologies or infrastructure, while also dealing with increasingly unfavorable and more frequent drought conditions in already dry areas.
While these factors are also likely to impact the success of the seed coating industry, some technologies are already helping address the issue with better “moisture-drawing” and retaining properties to help boost seed viability, even in the driest parts of the world.
Global Demand for More Food Crops to Feed the World
Underpinning the overarching demand for seed technology worldwide is an increasing population all over the planet, and a need to feed this growing population: in a way that is successful, sustainable, nutritious, and of low-cost to farmers in their operations.
Seed coating technology helps address all these challenges, and in a manner that may eventually overtake and outcompete a lot of contemporary agricultural methods and products.