Date: 17 April 2018

Applying a build-up to seed is a very important tool for ensuring accuracy of sowing and as a carrier for additives and actives which can assist in the establishment of your crop and the management of pests.

Seed Innovations™ are proud to partner with world leaders in seed enhancement, INCOTEC®, to provide New Zealand growers with the best the world can offer when it comes to encrusting technologies.

The challenges of plantability of a seed lot are reduced significantly when seed is encrusted and the type of encrustment can be adapted to account for different seed characteristics and sowing equipment. In addition the negative environmental effects of plant protection products are diminished dramatically when applied to the seed with encrusting.

The process of encrusting involves the application of a powder and liquid formulation to seed so that it forms a build-up around the seed. The powders used to create the build-up around the seed are made up of numerous components blended with many critical factors in mind including binding capacity, specific density, porosity, water holding capacity and others. The liquid formulation will consist of a polymer binder in combination with other components such as pigments and a variety of additives and actives.

A Seed Innovations™ encrustment provides a light weight coating with a minimal build-up that will increase the seed size but not so much the shape of the seed. The end encrustment (seed) size is dependent on the seed type being encrusted and the original seed size. A Seed Innovations™ encrustment is best used for seed lots that will be sown using pneumatic (vacuum) drilling equipment. The objectives of encrusting seed include:

  1. Improvement of the plantability of a seed lot, in particular small seed or seed of an irregular size and shape, to:
       - achieve greater singulation during sowing
       - improve drilling accuracy thereby obtaining greater precision sowing
       - improve the ballistic properties of the seed
  2. Creating a carrier for actives including plant protection products, micronutrients and growth stimulants.

The outcome of encrusting seed lots is dependent on three major elements:

  1. The encrusting materials
  2. The application and drying system
  3. The seed type

At Seed Innovations™ our encrusting materials are developed by INCOTEC® to ensure the best possible result for the different seed type they are being applied to. These materials for encrusting are developed to meet specific requests and challenges based on the following principles:

  • robust so will not break easily with handling
  • flowable for handling
  • light weight so able to be picked up easily in sowing equipment
  • safe to the seed they will be applied to
  • safe to the environment and will not persist in the soil
  • safe to human health for handlers and operators
  • compatibility with plant protection products
  • water and oxygen are able to pass through the encrustment

At Seed Innovations™ the application and drying system we use for encrusting is state-of-the-art. Our custom seed processing facility was purpose built and our equipment and systems are set up to achieve:

  • accurate application of encrusting materials, additives and actives
  • even application of encrusting materials to achieve greater uniformity of seed within a seed lot
  • quality assurance targets for encrusted seed lots 

At Seed Innovations™ we are able to encrust the seed of a range of crop types. Most commonly this includes seed of carrots and onions. For other seed types please contact us to discuss your requirements.

The Seed Innovations™ encrustment is hard enough to avoid crushing during transport and sowing, light weight enough for seeding machinery to pick up and does not impede germination. The Seed Innovations™ encrustment does not wash off the seed due to the well balanced mix of components which allows optimal levels of water and oxygen to penetrate the coating under variable conditions and the germination process begin. It is important to note that the Seed Innovations™ encrustment will not inhibit germination of healthy seed. In addition, encrusted seed only requires the same amount of moisture as raw seed to germinate.


Encrusting allows for the application of plant protection products onto seed.

In New Zealand there are only a limited number of products that are registered for application as a seed treatment. Given the dynamic nature of the market for agricultural compounds we have not listed here the current registered plant protection products due to the ongoing changes in legislation, market requirements and technology.

It is common that growers request a plant protection product to be applied to their seed for which a registration does not exist for that particular crop. This is known as an off-label use of a product and is legally allowed within New Zealand so long as the resultant crop grown from the seed complies with the New Zealand (Maximum Residue Limits of Agricultural Compounds) Food Standards (the MRL Standards) and amendments.

The MRL Standards list the MRLs for a range of agricultural compounds, but also includes a provision for residues of up to 0.1 mg/kg for agricultural compound/ food combinations not specifically listed. Under the MRL Standards, agricultural compound residues in food must comply with the specific MRLs listed in the MRL Standard (including the ‘default’ MRL of 0.1 mg/kg where no specific MRL is listed).

It must be understood that Seed Innovations™ cannot recommend, advertise or endorse any off-label use of a plant protection product. However, on request and following consent of a grower we are able to apply the product as part of an encrustment. Liability for the resultant MRL in the harvested crop rests solely with the grower.

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