CropLife report lauds benefits of seed treatment

By Aarian Marshall

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2013 - CropLife Foundation (CLF) today released a report extolling the benefits of seed treatments, which the organization says have led to healthier crops, fewer environmental impacts and economic benefits.

The foundation is the research arm of agricultural biotechnology and chemical trade association CropLife America.

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Seed treatments - chemicals applied to seeds before planting - are meant to defend seeds against pathogens, insects and other pests. Proponents say the treatments are a preferable alternative to other controlling measures such as pesticide sprays because of their precise application and increased efficiency.

According to the report, there are other benefits.

Treatments have reduced the incidence of the fungus Thielaviopsis in California, leading to a 65 percent increase in cotton stands compared to untreated seeds, CLF says. In another example, trials at Montana State University found a seed treatment increased yields of spring wheat and spring barley by 25 percent.

The foundation also says seed treatments have contributed to $80 billion in crop value for U.S. farmers. A report by research group Markets and Markets estimates fungicide and insecticide treatment markets will reach over  $3.55 billion globally by 2018.

The report also argues seed treatments are more environmentally friendly than other control measures. “Seed treatment precisely places the crop protection product on the surface of a small seed, effectively reducing the need to apply products over entire fields,” CLF said. “This reduces potential off-target exposure to crop protection products for both animals and humans.”

In a press conference in Washington, D.C., this morning, CLF board chair Jay Vroom said the treatments are safe and “strictly regulated in the U.S. by the EPA, and under science-based regulations, American farmers continue to reap the benefits of these products.”

“Seed treatment is a vital component in the array of technologies that American farmers select in order to produce food, feed, fiber and fuel for their communities,” he said.

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