Q & A: 5 Minutes With ASTA President Andy LaVigne

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Q: Discuss the current direction of the seed treatment industry in the U.S.

Andy LaVigne: As far as the overall trend or direction of the industry, there’s a lot of new innovation and technology going on in the industry. Whether it’s biotech or a variety for disease resistance, it’s a very exciting place to be right now with all of the rapid change in the seed treatment arena.”

Q: What factors drive the rapid change that you refer to?

AL: “I think just more and more growers are seeing the benefits of using seed treatments, having a treatment put on a seed as opposed to broadcast applications prior to planting. Growers are also seeing the benefits from fewer trips across the field with the sprayer, because they have such strong trait sets. We’re seeing consistent information that shows seed treatments are improving yields giving plants a stronger root ball and root set, and that helps ensure a good yield if all the other factors come into play.”

Q: Discuss the adoption of inoculants and other technologies within seed treatments.

AL: “There are a number of companies with technologies in other areas that are bringing strong inoculants, coatings and polymers, and other components within the treatment that benefit the application and enhance the effectiveness of the product, to market. I think what we’re seeing is just an overall improvement in the application process and a higher level of return for the grower as they choose to make investments in those products.” 

Q: Will the growth in seed treatment adoption continue?

AL:For the time being, we (ASTA) believe it will. We’ve already seen a lot of growth in the traditional row crops, and seed treatment in the vegetable and flower sides of it continue to grow as well. We’re not anticipating any reduction in that growth in the coming years, possibly some leveling off in the future. But it’s hard to say exactly right now.

Q: Discuss the retailer’s role in the seed treatment market:

AL: “As more and more growers continue to go in the direction of seed treatment and care, more and more retailers that we work closely with are adopting the most innovative machinery to produce the seeds that today’s grower needs. Retail plays an extremely important part in that process, and they’re doing a great job learning how best to use these products and educating their growers on them.

Grassi is the Assistant Editor for the CropLife Media Group, including CropLife and CropLife IRON magazines and the PrecisionAg Special Reports. He joined the staff in February 2012.

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