AGRIBUSINESS: Coating Seeds May Allow Earlier Planting

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In the south, planting is already beginning, but with the ground still frozen farther north, farmers have to wait a little longer.

But that might change, USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) found coated seeds could encourage producers to plant earlier. By putting a temperature-activated, polymer layer over seeds, farmers can optimize planting schedules. The layer prevents water from touching the seed until soils are warm enough.

ARS plant physiologist Russ Gesch conducted studies comparing coated and uncoated seeds planted in early and late spring. He found coated seeds planted in early spring had greater emergence. Uncoated seeds performed better in the late spring.