Seed treatment involves application of fungicides, insecticides, chemical or non-chemical materials and mixtures to seeds and seedlings. This is done for the primary purpose of disinfection and providing protection against bacteria, fungus, viruses, etc. during the stage of their growth and development. In addition, this process can enhance the genetic yielding potential of seeds; increasing their productivity. Seed treatment market segmentation is done on the basis of treatment type and crops treated. Insecticides, fungicides, chemical and non-chemical are the various forms of seed treatment primarily applied to crops such as corn, canola, cotton, soybean and wheat.
Advantage of seed treatment includes reduction in resource wastage by concentration of treatment towards the intended object (seed). Seed treatments have effective control over seed and soil borne diseases and infections. Certain treatments provide pathogen resistance and prevention of transmission of infections. Genetically modified crop seeds require seed treatment as they tend to be more vulnerable to pest and infection attacks in the growing environment. Seed treatment provides holistic solutions to uphold cost investments made for ensuring highly productive good quality seeds, driving growth of this market. They are preferred for providing cost effective preventive solutions for high priced seed vulnerability. Low residue levels compared to conventional methods of protecting crops has been another major attribute of seed treatment methods. Swift growth of technologies to eliminate crop destruction elements from the inception stage holds great potential for this market.
However, initial formulation and registering of products is a difficult process for manufacturers due to its cost intensive nature. Lack of standardization for approval of treatments exists as a result of lenient regulatory framework in certain countries. Stringent government regulations regarding ingredient usage and registration have also been a growth restraint for the market. Low shelf life of products hinders market growth resulting in conventional methods garnering preference over them.
Seed dressing or coating with insecticide or fungicide formulation has been a common practice in seed treatment processes. These are widely used for providing effective protection to seeds against pests or diseases such as wilt, rot, bacteria, aphid, fungi and many more. Insecticides have been dominating the application segment due to cost effectiveness and easy execution practices. Chemical and non-chemical are another set of major seed treatment types. Major portfolio offerings include chemical based products. With such easy availability at nominal prices, chemical treatment options dominate the market consumption share. Worker safety and lenient regulatory framework are contributing to its rapid adoption. However, with increased concern for human health and environment, non-chemical alternatives are finding market acceptance. Organic farming methods have been helpful in increasing the demand for non-synthetic products. These may also serve the purpose of growth regulation and micronutrient provision.
Reduction in arable land available for farming calls for improved productivity to meet the growing demands. High vulnerability of certain seeds such as corn, cotton, wheat, canola and soybean has resulted in extensive seed treatment application in their cultivation.
Developed countries of North America and Europe are technologically advanced and have been practicing efficient methods for improved productivity. Seed treatments being one such dominant practice, these regions have dominated the market consumption. With modernization of agricultural practices in highly populated agrarian countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, India and China; seed treatment market can be expected to grow significantly in the Latin America and Asia Pacific region.
Players having registered patents have an added advantage over others with their superior performing products. Participants of seed treatment (chemical or non-chemical) market include Syngenta, Bayer CropScience, Monsanto, BASF, Chemtura, Nufarm, DuPont, Becker Underwood, Wolf Trax Incorporation, Plant Health Care, Valent U.S.A. Corporation, Precision Laboratories Incorporation, Sumitomo Chemical Company Limited, Novozymes A/S, Advanced Biological Marketing, Morflora, ASTEC Global, Incotec Group BV, Cibus Global, Germains Seed Technology, Ceres Inc., Brettyoung Limited, etc.