The fastest growing segment of the agricultural input industry is the seed treatment market, according to a new report from Line, titled “Seed Treatment Global Series: Market Analysis and Opportunities.” The report states that this market is now a $2.6 billion global market.

The United States is leading the growth in the market with 38 percent of the global market share. However, countries like China and Brazil have been chipping away at the United State’s market share over the past five years. This is likely due to the spurred interest in cost-effective and environmentally friendly means of increasing crop productivity. In Brazil, seed treatments now account for 21 percent of the global market share.

Corn/maize leads the crops using seed treatments, according to the report. More than one-third of the seed treatment products used globally is used on this crop alone.

Another reason for the increase in seed treatment use globally is the increase in crops that have been enhanced with genetics. As the costs for genetically modified crop seed has increased, so has the need for protecting that investment, particularly with a seed treatment.

Duncan Allison, Senior Associate at Kline’s Specialty Pesticides Practice, notes “Seed treatments are a highly targeted means of applying minimal amounts of agrichemicals to crops and consequently offer both efficiency and minimal impact upon the soil environment. More recently developed products protect seedlings during the critical first three to four weeks of plant growth.”

As proof of the dynamic and valuable nature and scale of the market, several new seed treatment fungicides have been developed to combine with existing products to provide even broader spectrum control. There is also increasing interest in developing countries in more recent chemistry that offers improved protection of seed and seedlings. In established markets, the trend of providing complete solution products as part of the seed package is growing and overtreatments even of nematicides are being offered to supplement control so as to meet local needs.  

Allison continues, “While seed can be treated on the farm by the farmer, it’s not easy to get good distribution on the seed. Farmers in developed and developing countries alike are recognizing the value of getting new seed each year and seed companies supplying that seed are realizing the value of treating their supplies so that the farmer increases his/her chance of getting a better stand and crop yield.”