Seed Coating: A farmer-friendly technique for producing crops
The world’s population is increasing, so is the need to feed the population. Seeds provide nutrition and protection to the embryo. The growth and development of the plant as a whole depends upon the performance of the seed. The yield, performance of the plant and its resistance to undesirable parameters of the plant depends upon the emergence and the germination rate of the seed.
Seeds are power houses of nutrition, which makes them perishable. Various biological, physical and chemical parameters affects the performance of the seed as well as the seedlings. As we know, seeds are full of nutrition which makes them susceptible to various biological flora like bacteria, fungi, pests, insects and nematodes. Physical parameters like dust & temperature also affects the seeds, high temperature causes seed desiccation which affects the embryo. In order to generate a healthy quantity and quality food crop, the health of seed needs to be taken into consideration.
A technique in which the seed is supplemented with several materials like nutritional elements, plant growth regulators, chemicals and pesticides in order to improve the seed vigour by addition of adhesive substance onto it is termed as seed coating. Various natural and synthetic polymers can be used as a adhesive for coating the seeds. Natural polymers like Cellulose, Chitosan, Acacia gum, Starch, etc. can be used. Synthetic polymers like polyethylene glycol, Polyvinyl acetate, Polyvinylpyrrolidone, etc. can be used. A slurry is created, which is used for coating the seed, which consists of a polymer (adhesive), Antifungal & antibacterial agents (protection against pathogenic bacterial and fungal cultures), Color (For improving the asthetic value), Plant growth hormones (Auxin & cytokinin as a plant growth regulators). Advantage of this technique is that the quality of the seed is not hampered by any external factors. Disadvantage can be the uneven coating and thickness of the seed coat, which can hamper the emergence and germination rate. Solution to this problem can be filming the materials. Seed filming is a technique in which the slurry is sprayed onto the seeds, as they flow through or are drop into a automated machine. A thin layer of required material is coated onto the seeds by spraying, using seed filming technique. The polymer which is used in this technique dry’s off within no time, therefore the seeds can germinate through the dry polymeric coating after sowing.
Seeds when treated with various materials can help improve the performance prior to sowing. An environmentally safer way to use insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers can be seed coating as the quantity required is in very small amount. Seed coating does not hamper the genetic make up. Therefore, this technique is a far more farmer friendly & environment friendly way for improving the yield and quality of crops.