Strong Farmer Interest in Seed Coating

Seed with special coating technology lets you plant corn earlier, and farmers find yield advantages with early planting. Compiled by staff

Published on: Nov 26, 2004

The company that sells a new seed coating product says that due to 2004’s unique growing conditions, yields confirm the value of using Intellicoat Early Plant seed coating technology.

"Yield reports validate the importance of the technology and timely planting," says Tom Crowley, president of Landec Ag, Inc. "We saw record corn yields. In parts of the northern Corn Belt, farmers saw corn with Intellicoat Early Plant out-yield late-planted corn by considerable margins. These differences show the value."

Cold, wet early spring conditions caused many farmers in the northern Corn Belt to miss their optimum planting dates. But farmers who used Intellicoat Early Plant could easily see the rewards of getting a portion of their corn planted earlier than normal. And, the lack of heat units in spring and summer caused corn to develop slower than normal, magnifying the differences in yield and dry-down between early-planted corn and corn planted after the optimum period.

First year of widespread use was 2004

The first year of widespread use for Intellicoat Early Plant was 2004. The unique technology allows farmers to plant corn from a few days up to four weeks earlier than normal without risk of chilling injury to the seed. For farmers with busy spring schedules, a few extra days of planting during early spring can translate into bigger yields on all their acres.

Chris Jefferies, president of Ohio-based seed company Seed Consultants, says, "We began a planting date study five years ago. Our data shows Intellicoat Early Plant can mean as much as 43 more bushels vs. late-planted corn. Getting a few extra days of planting by using Intellicoat can move up your whole planting schedule 7-10 days. For some farmers that means the difference between getting everything planted on time or suffering yield loss from late planting."

Steve Ottilie, president of Ottilie Seed at Marshalltown, Iowa, says, "We set up a early plant corn study vs. late planting. The Intellicoat Early Plant corn averaged 38 bushels more per acre vs. corn planted May 25th. When you add on extra drying costs for late-planted corn, you can have a $125 per acre added value on a $14 per acre investment for the protection with Intellicoat. This is an excellent tool to help farmers manage risks."

Farmers find exceptional yield advantages

The patented Intellicoat Early Plant coating controls seed germination in cold, early spring soils. When soil is too cold for healthy seedling growth, the coating protects seed and restricts it from taking in enough water to germinate. Once soil temperature warms, the coating becomes permeable, allowing water to permeate the seed. This regulation of water promotes germination in optimum conditions.

Intellicoat Early Plant seed coating is currently marketed through ten seed partners. They are Beck’s Hybrids, Atlanta, Ind.; Dyna-Gro of Greeley, Colo.; Fielder’s Choice Direct, Monticello, Ind.; Horizon Genetics LLC, Mason City, Ill.; Hubner Seed Co., Inc., West Lebanon, Ind.; Legend Seeds, DeSmet, S.D.; Ottilie Seed, Marshalltown, Iowa; Seed Consultants, Inc., Washington Court House, Ohio; and Southern States, Richmond, Va.

Other new seed products on the horizon

Over 30 seed companies producing hybrid seed corn are already using another Intellicoat technology, Pollinator Plus. In this application, the coating delays germination of the male inbred seed. This widens the pollination window to increase yields, minimize risks and reduce production costs in production of seed corn. Seed firms are rapidly increasing their use of this technology.

Also on the commercial horizon is another Intellicoat application--relay intercropping of wheat and Intellicoat coated soybeans. This application enables central and northern Corn Belt farmers, whose growing season is normally too short for double cropping, to successfully inter-plant coated soybeans into wheat and gain more revenue by harvesting two crops off the same field in the same year. This Intellicoat application is in its third year of successful commercial on-farm trials.

To find out more about Intellicoat Early Plant technology visit The site also has information as to which seed companies will offer the coating in 2005.