This operation may look a little like a segment of “Cooking at Home,” but actually it's a mixture of treatment materials being coated on individual seeds.
"What the seed treatment would do is it would protect the seed from an attack by an insect or disease. It would be a particular material or agent that’s applied to seeds to go ahead and protect them," said Alan Taylor, of the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.
In other words, seeds for such plants as snap beans, corn and cucumbers can be protected from insects and disease by coating.
"After the seed is sown there are different soil pathogens that could cause a disease which could attack very quickly as seed is just starting to germinate and grow so that is one area where we need protection," Taylor said.
Taylor says they can also create a mixture that protects the plant after it breaks ground in the early stages of growth substantially reducing the need for topical pesticide application.
"We have examples such as our work with onion seeds and the onion crop here in New York which is normally a direct seeded crop with chemicals applied in the furrow at the time of sowing versus the seed treatment where we’re putting on 90 percent less material if it’s applied as a seed treatment," Taylor said.
Use of the seed delivery system for agrochemicals has been widely adopted in commercial agriculture and the research is focused developing that would be acceptable in organic farming.