Chemical crop protection methods or products, such as seed treatment process, are essential for preventing pests and diseases from infecting, eating, or harming crops, which drastically reduces both the quantity and quality of the food produced.
Farmers are looking for opportunities to increase the efficiency of their agricultural fields because the amount of fertile land is decreasing due to different environmental concerns such as urbanization, depleting water resources, global warming, etc.
Therefore, using seed treatment products and insecticides, farmers are strictly adhering to crop protection procedures to safeguard seeds and seedlings from damage caused by diseases, fungi, weeds, and rodents. Thus, the main purpose of seed treatment in farming is to shield seeds from bacterial and fungal illnesses.
Importance of Seed Treatment in Agriculture
To prepare seeds for planting, they must be treated with specific physical, chemical, or biological agents. These substances guard the seeds against disease, insects, and other pest attacks. Since the seeds are small, bacterial or fungal illnesses can spread readily and contaminate them. To benefit from the advantages that come with commercial seeds, farmers are increasingly accepting them. To improve flowability and sowing ability, the seed treatment method enlarges the seed size and structure using a coat.
Since seed treatments increase crop production, uniformity, and sustainability, they are a viable solution. To increase their market position, businesses in the global seed treatment market have launched a variety of products and engaged in several partnerships, collaborations, and agreements.
Additionally, the demand for biological seed treatment is being driven by the rise in demand for organic food and the spreading adoption of the "green crop protection" perception around the world because these are crucial for addressing the growing concerns over pesticide residues in food and the issues of pest resistance.
According to the BIS Research report, the global seed treatment market was valued at $7.92 billion in 2021, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.43% and reach $13.58 billion by 2027.
In the agriculture industry, a constant attempt is being made to enhance the seed treatment procedure using cutting-edge technology due to the growing importance and prevalence of seed treatment chemicals in agriculture. The trends that are expected to make this treatment more viable are covered in more detail in this article.
Technological Enhancement in Seed Treatment Process
Agriculture techniques have used seed treatment for a very long period. However, due to their high chemical content and negative effects on human health, traditional seed treatment procedures that include chemical coatings and seed disinfectants have been subjected to scrutiny and stringent regulatory regulations.
Therefore, with technological advancements, essential changes are being made in the procedure to make it more sustainable and efficient. Following are two such crucial developments:
1. Emerging Biodegradable Seed Coating Technology: The seed coating method primarily uses synthetic polymers today. Due to their low viscosity and water-based formulation, polymers bond active chemicals and other additives to the surface of seeds, extending their shelf life and promoting seed germination.
In addition, polymer seed covering reduces dust on the seeds and safeguards them against bacterial and fungal illnesses. However, there has been a significant detrimental impact on the environment due to the widespread use of chemical seed treatment products, such as synthetic coatings made of polymers.
As a result, producers are keeping an eye on cutting-edge biodegradable seed coating technology, which has been gaining popularity in the seed treatment sector. This approach offers a microplastic-free, 100% biodegradable seed coating, making it easy to substitute polymers and chemical seed coating methods.
Microplastic and chemical seed coating methods have already been outlawed in Europe. Therefore, polymers may be easily replaced with biodegradable seed coating technology, which is anticipated to enter the market in Europe. Research and development efforts for biodegradable seed coating technology are growing among many worldwide seed treatment players.
For instance, Croda International Plc and Xampla formed a cooperation in February 2022 to develop biodegradable seed coating products for the international market. Moreover, the use of biodegradable seed coating is anticipated to soar in the future.
2. Seed Priming Techniques for Improved Efficacy: Seed priming is a low-cost and physiological method of seed hydration and drying. By accelerating metabolic activity prior to seed germination, this technique speeds up seed germination and seedling growth. The use of fertilizers, micronutrients, and plant growth nutrients is also decreased by this process.
The seed industry employs a variety of seed priming techniques. The market is seeing an increase in the use of seed priming techniques such as hydro-priming, halo-priming, osmo-priming, hormone-priming, solid matrix priming, and bio-priming.
In the early stages of growth, seed priming shields the seedlings from bacterial and fungal infections. Thus, the seed priming approach can reduce the cost structure of farming techniques by skipping the initial pesticide and fungicide sprays.
This method is particularly employed in crop kinds for fruits and vegetables. In the case of carrot, celery, chard, coriander, eggplant, fennel, leek, melon, onion, and tomatoes, Germains Seed Technology Company uses "Emergis" seed priming procedures. In essence, the seed priming approach improves seed germination efficiency, homogeneity, and seedling production.
Farmers have shifted from using conventional seeds to using commercial seeds during the past few decades. Farmers are gravitating toward commercial seeds because of the growth in diseases transmitted by seeds and mechanical sowing techniques. Micronutrients and plant growth regulators are only two of the many substances that can be coated on commercial seeds.
Farmers are additionally encouraged to use commercial seeds due to an increase in research and development efforts in a number of application techniques, such as seed coating, seed dressing, and seed pelleting.
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