The Agricultural Research Service arm of the USDA recently published research conducted by one of its plant physiologists, Russ Gesch, on the subject of early planting of coated seeds.  Gesch’s research confirmed what seed producers and coating resellers have claimed, “sowing seeds protected by a thin polymer layer can help northern Corn Belt farmers optimize spring planting schedules.” 

Gesch’s research involved “coated seeds [that] were covered with a temperature-activated polymer that prevented water from reaching the seed until the soils were warm enough for germination and emergence.” 

The research suggests that planting coated seeds in early Spring can help farmers “accelerate their production schedules by planting coated seeds in no-till fields in the early spring. But Gesch and Sharratt also found that coated soybean seeds planted in late spring were less successful because they were exposed to soil temperatures that were too high for successful germination and establishment.” 

As future seed coating offerings are launched in the market, USDA research on their effectiveness will be of interest to many in the industry.