I have written before that the future is in seed treatments and fungicides for the traditional crop protection companies. The additional point that I should of included is the growth potential for the biological market in the seed treatment product area. The interesting point is that biologicals are designed to work in conjunction (stacking) with some of the new innovative fungicide / insecticide and seed treatment products. For example, the Monsanto seed treatment Acceleron contains Integral, a biological from Becker Underwood.
Last week, I visited a Becker Underwood manufacturing plant in St. Josephs, Missouri. Personally I am very aware of the inoculants market but my eyes were opened wide to the possibilities of the seed treatment biological market and the benefits it could create for farmers.
The information below was presented to me by Peter Innes, Becker Underwood, CEO.
The first biological was patented in the early 1900’s. The industry has come a very long ways. We have new strains, better fermentation methods, better field performance.
At the same time the seed treatment market is growing. Biologicals will not replace crop protection products but they can enhance the performance to create even better opportunities for the grower.
Biologicals play a major role in industries like baking, pharmaceuticals and malt brewing so why not agriculture.
They do have limitations though. Soil is very complex and plants require interaction with biologically to survive. Biologicals are very specific which provides limited opportunity for broad spectrum control. This is case and point why biologicals will not replace crop protection. Efficient fermentation is required to make commercialization viable which can be a challenge.
By providing farmers with the opportunity to use traditional seed treatments with biologicals the grower is supplied with a major win in profitability.
The reality is that for me I see the growth of seed treatment use through my Haney Farms seed business. We used to sell ones product with one formulation. Now we have 8 SKUS to try and help farmers become more successful in the field. Adding biologicals to compliment crop protection seed treatments provides the true opportunity for greater seed enhancement and ultimately yields for soybean, canola and cereal farmers. The one one main point that many farmers bring up to me is that they want these new stacked products to be RTA and not something that has to be mixed on the farm. Otherwise they will not buy them or get the products applied at a commercial treater.