Celebrating Nature's Seed Miracle

Tarciso Mauro Bonachela, Head of Global Third Party Relations & Seed Treatment at Adama discusses seeds and how to maximise their potential

Seeds bring food, and consequently they bring life. They ensure that people can be fed in the coming season, but also for many seasons into the future. Without a strong and healthy seed you’ll not get a strong and healthy plant.

Our understanding of how to maximize the potential of seeds is increasing all the time and at Adama we take the approach that by working with nature, we can deliver the yield increases that will be needed to feed the world. http://www.adama.com/en/products-and-services/seed-treatment/overview/

 

There is more knowledge of the vigour and genetic content of seeds and that is allowing us to develop new methods of protecting them and allowing them to flourish.

Seed facts:

  • 405 trillion wheat seeds are planted in the world every year. Based on a seed rate of 120kg/ha and a harvested area of 218 million hectares, using UN FAOSTAT production figures
  • One rice seed can produce 5,000 grains of rice.
  • A 100-hectare corn field produces 175% more crop now than it did 50 years ago because of improvements in varieties, chemistry and machinery. Based on global UN FAOSTAT figures.
  • There are 1,700 seed or gene banks across the world. The Svalbard seed bank in the Arctic Circle keeps nearly a million seed samples in ideal conditions of -18ᵒC protecting seeds from a wide range of food crops for future generations.

In the past seed treatment mainly consisted of a coating of fungicide or insecticide to protect the plant from a specific disease or pest. Now treatments can still give that protection, but in a more sophisticated way. Polymer coatings are used to promote a better adherence to the seeds, controlling release, improving their appearance, plantability and handling. Nutrient and biostimulant treatments contribute to enhanced germination and vigour, alongside inoculants which enhance nitrogen fixation. Together these elements will enhance root and plant establishment by encouraging growth. By adding these elements to seed, the use of fertilizer and crop protection products can be more targeted and optimized, benefitting the plant and protecting the surrounding soil and water.

A crop will not be successful if it does not have a healthy and strong root structure. By protecting and feeding the seed, the plant can push its roots down through the soil, anchoring it and maximizing the number of nutrients available to the green shoots as they grow above the ground. In a changing climate, plants will have to tolerate possible periods of drought and excess water so the role of the roots will become even more important.

The future for seeds and seed treatment is an exciting one. The knowledge of seed genetics is increasing all the time leading to new varieties providing specific benefits according to each farmer’s needs. Meanwhile, farmers of all sizes across the world are using more treated certified and hybrid seeds which are allowing them to deliver higher yields of quality crops without increasing the amount of land they farm. In a holistic approach, the concept of precision farming also means that farmers can optimize the value of their inputs and preserve vital resources such as soil and water. Better understanding of the process of crop establishment allows farmers to customize the usage of nutrients and plant protection products and develop new systems of accurate and environmentally-oriented modern farming.

At Adama our scientists continue to use our unique chemical collection and knowledge to develop formulations that enhance the potential of the seeds and protect the environment. We are also very encouraged by the potential of natural products that can protect the seed from pest and disease using ingredients such as natural oils.

Farming is only successful if farmers work in harmony with nature and do not try to conquer it. The emergence of an abundant crop from a tiny seed is one of nature’s miracles. As we continue to understand the potential of seeds better, we can harness nature’s power and provide the food we will need, while protecting the planet that has incubated this miracle.

Barley Seeds
Barley seeds