Advanced Seed Treatment Tech Top Of Mind

The NOVO system is ready to move into its next phase for the ag retail market.

Just as the recent explosion in sprayer innovation has been chronicled in the pages of CropLife IRON and at farm shows across the country like Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) and Farm Progress Show, the seed treatment market has followed suit. With automated seed treating systems that bring precision ag-like accuracy to the application of seed treatments, new all-in-one seed treatment products and breakthrough performance polymers and seed coatings that drive efficiency from the retailer’s treater to the grower’s planter, this industry is literally bursting at the seams with new and exciting offerings.

New App Systems

Once upon a time, according to business development manager Jeff Ochampaugh of Agrilead Inc., Russell, KS, the job of treating seed was dreaded by employees at most ag retailers. “From the standpoint of actually treating seed — and this is changing now — traditionally whoever does that job drew the short straw. Now, all of a sudden it’s a great job with NOVO, and the guy (or lady) that does it is enjoying it.”

There’s a tangible reason for that change of heart. New high-tech treating systems, marketed both for the smaller, localized retailer as well as the larger retailer operating expansive regional seed hubs, are offering operators enhanced automation, removing human error and making employees and management’s lives a bit easier.

Agrilead’s NOVO Seed Care Prescription Management System, now in the process of transitioning from its early commercialization stage into what Ochampaugh termed its “full commercial launch” is one example of an automated treating system for smaller to mid-size retailers.

Ochampaugh describes NOVO as an automated prescription system. Products, or ingredients as he calls them, are plugged into NOVO from industry standard drum pumps, to be combined into a prescription treatment slurry.

“The operator then steps up to the NOVO touch screen, answers some basic questions like what prescription they’re going to use, what’s the size of the seed, and the machine automatically mixes, measures and creates the treatment slurry and then transfers it to the treater, and it’s off and ready to go,” says Ochampaugh.

Several challenges the market currently faces can be alleviated through the NOVO system, according to Ochampaugh. One of those challenges is the physical handling of the treatment products and worker safety, which in today’s crop protection world of prescription usually means combining a multitude of different products at various rates depending on many localized factors. Another is seed size variations, particularly when treating soybeans.

“Before we were planting so many pounds of seed per acre, where now we have seeding systems that can measure how many individual seeds we plant per acre, and this makes a big difference where we’re dealing with high value seed and concentrated seed care inputs,” says Ochampaugh. “For example, if I take 100 pounds of a seed that has 2,400 seeds per pound, and I take 100 pounds of seed that has 3,600 seeds per pound, and I treat them both with the same fluid ounces of product per 100 pounds, I’ve just dramatically dosed differently on a per-seed basis.

“NOVO now executes a method, which is patent pending by the way, known as Size Index Rate Adjustment (SIRA), which, when using products labeled with per-seed application rates, makes the slurry based upon the size of the seed and provides the operator with a new application rate so that the rate on a per-seed basis is exactly the same for all seed sizes.”

More Features

Another new NOVO feature, Sequential Mini-Batch Operation (SMBO), reportedly reduces downtime for operators. “With the SMBO feature, the NOVO makes its first mini-batch and pumps it over to the application tank and off they go,” says Ochampaugh. “Their treating process can begin right then, which we refer to as a ‘ready-to-treat interval’. So we can reduce that ready-to-treat interval, we don’t have to wait for that entire 50 gallons to be made, we still have the benefits of a homogenous treatment slurry, and yet we start to treat as soon as that first small batch is ready and the NOVO continues to operate as the treating goes on.”

Other ways NOVO can deliver improved efficiency for retail operations includes traceability (see sidebar), as NOVO hopes to soon be able to link all products used on a specific job directly to the seed, helping retailers manage traceability requirements that are becoming more common. Additionally, the system also includes hand-mix capabilities, enhanced reporting functions for streamlining billing and inventory and universal compatibility with any brand of slurry-based seed treatment products.

“NOVO was designed very retailer-focused from the ground up,” says Ochampaugh.

Bayer CropScience’s On Demand System is another automated application solution making waves in retail seed care, according to Brad May, strategic business lead for Bayer’s SeedGrowth Group. “On Demand is an application system that attaches to a continuous flow treater and offers the most innovative, interactive, accurate and easy-to-use system for retailers. It’s got a touch screen and you just touch the screen, select your ingredients and the system makes the recipes. It’s a state-of-the-art system.”

Like NOVO, On Demand also drives efficiency in seed treatment. “We’ve all seen the semis sitting along the road, waiting to pick up treated seed,” says May. “This system pretty much eliminates that wait time and it’s a very simple tool, kind of like your iPhone, that just makes your life easier.”

Adds Ethan Luth, Bayer CropScience product manager: “There’s no product exposure, there’s no risk of miss-application because this system is calibrated very accurately, so you eliminate the opportunity for human error in the mixing system and, as a retailer, you can be certain that your inventories will come out right, and the grower can be certain that he’s getting what he’s paying for, so everybody benefits.”

Leave a Reply

Seed/Biotech Stories
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Delivers Two New Winter Wheat Varieties To Eastern Corn Belt
August 6, 2014
Adding to its portfolio of AgriPro brand wheat varieties, Syngenta introduces SY 007 and SY 474 soft red winter wheat varieties. Read More
Seed/BiotechWater Optimized Seed Flowing Freely
April 1, 2014
As the demand for ag to diminish its water use while maintaining high yields and crop quality increases, three companies are leading the movement to grow more with less water. Read More
Seed/BiotechBayer Applies For Seed Treatment That Protects Against Sudden Death Syndrome
February 26, 2014
If approved, ILeVO seed treatment would be the first product to provide breakthrough protection for soybean seedlings from the soil borne pathogen Fusarium virguliforme, the fungus that causes SDS. Read More
Seed/BiotechSeed Still Central
November 1, 2013
Advancing genetics continue to make seed the crop variable that calls the shots for the season. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires South Dakota Retailer
April 2, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Agribusiness Division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed Read More
CropLife 100The McGregor Co. Closes Smith-Kem Acquisition
April 2, 2015
The McGregor Co. — ranked No. 16 on the CropLife 100 list of largest U.S. ag retailers — has completed Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsMonsanto-Syngenta Mega-Merger Would Drive More Deals
May 4, 2015
A combination of Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG would set the stage for even more mergers and acquisitions, reports Brooke Read More
InsecticidesAgrian Announces New California Feature
May 4, 2015
Agrian announced today that it has developed a feature within its recommendation writing program that will support the California Department Read More
Storage Tanks at Nachurs
FertilizerNachurs Alpine Solutions: Liquid Fertilizer With Precis…
May 4, 2015
When it comes to fertilizer options in 2015 and beyond, ag retailers are taking a long, hard look at liquid. Read More
West Central Sac City growers
StewardshipIowa Lawsuit Challenges Ag’s Water Quality Efforts
May 3, 2015
Nutrient problems in west-central Iowa’s water supply made national headlines in March when the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) filed Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow AgroSciences: Always About Agriculture
May 2, 2015
When you consider their respective backgrounds, it’s little wonder why Dow AgroSciences and new President/CEO Tim Hassinger ended up together. Read More
Nozzle spray close-up
AdjuvantsSpray Drift Enters More Complex Era
May 1, 2015
Off-target movement of crop protection products has been a problem for decades. The issue got more contentious when glyphosate-tolerant crops Read More
Crop InputsTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant15
April 30, 2015
Growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s crop. Fortunately, many of them still have time to Read More
ManagementIowa Retailer Sticks Up For Agriculture and New Spray D…
April 30, 2015
Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about how one Iowa ag retailer is working to defend agricultural practices and an Read More
Dow AgroSciences Logo wall
Seed/BiotechNew Soybean Trait Agreement To Use Dow AgroSciencesR…
April 30, 2015
Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co., Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. and Bioceres, S.A. have formed an agreement Read More
Confluence of St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers in Minnesota
StewardshipAgricultural Runoff Among Causes Of Water Quality Issue…
April 30, 2015
A new report released April 29 by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency provides additional evidence that agricultural and urban runoff Read More
EquipmentTop 30 IRON WORKS Cartoons Of All Time
April 29, 2015
When CropLife IRON first started publishing more than a decade ago, long-time Publisher Al Strohmaier decided to start a cartoon Read More
StewardshipCPS-Hillsboro Becomes First ResponsibleAg Certified Fac…
April 29, 2015
Unlike a race where the first finisher takes home a medal or blue ribbon, safety and regulatory compliance doesn’t often Read More
HerbicidesWeed Scientists Offer New Definition For ‘Superwe…
April 28, 2015
The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) has joined with six sister organizations to recommend a new definition for superweed Read More
Crop InputsValent Announces “Relentless As You’ Contes…
April 28, 2015
Valent U.S.A. Corporation today announced the winners of its national “Relentless As You” contest, which recognized the relentless spirit of Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta’s Acuron Secures EPA Federal Approval
April 28, 2015
Growers looking to control difficult weeds like waterhemp, giant ragweed and Palmer amaranth will have access to Acuron corn herbicide Read More
FertilizerSimplot’s Gal-XeONE Technology Moves West
April 27, 2015
The J.R. Simplot Co. remains committed to creating customer value through technology. In 2013, Simplot purchased the Gal-XeONE controlled release Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Need To Defend Production Agriculture
April 27, 2015
Last week, I spent the better part of my time on the road visiting with ag retailers and market suppliers Read More
FertilizerStarter Fertilizers Show Value In Stressful Spring Cond…
April 27, 2015
From wet, cold conditions in the eastern Corn Belt to excessively dry, cool soils in the Plains states, spring field Read More