Seed film coating

Seeds need protection and nourishment. The products that provide this need to be applied carefully and accurately. Integrating these products into a film coat and applying directly to the seed is an effective way of doing this. Seed film coating is also more sustainable than traditional methods like crop spraying for the protection of seeds and seedlings in the early stages of growth.

seeds film coated with vibrantly coloured microplastic-free film coatings

Film coating process

Film coating takes place close to the customers seed production site. This avoids the impracticality of transporting bulk seeds. Incotec people all over the world understand the local conditions, know what the crop needs, know all about the film coating process and can support on site. 
Incotec’s seed film coats comprise materials that are carefully selected for their suitability as carrier of active ingredients such as plant protection products. We have many different film coat formulations, each one tailored to meet the unique and specific needs of the crop.

The film coat gives a thin layer of material around the surface of the seed. Incotec’s film coats comprise materials that are carefully selected for their suitability as a carrier of active ingredients such as plant protection products. These are responsible for a number of properties of the coating: adherence of the components, easy flow through equipment and prevention of unnecessary waste and potentially harmful dust emissions. We have many different film coat formulations, each one tailored to meet the unique and specific needs of the crop it is designed for.  

Vegetables and field crops

When it comes to treating vegetables and field crops seeds there is a vast difference. Not only are the volumes of vegetable seeds usually smaller, but the seed size generally is too and the seed surface is more varied. This calls for a flexible film coat that can be used across several crops. We offer film coats for vegetables that provide this flexibility, cutting out the need for changing equipment between batches and giving an efficient seed treatment process. With their larger seed size and bulk volumes, field crops seeds require a different specialty approach altogether. Most field crops need a higher dosage of seed-applied PPPs and the film coats are adapted to suit the specific equipment and procedures of large-volume processing.

Why are seeds film coated?

Seeds are film coated for a number of reasons including effectivity of the seed treatment, efficiency of the treatment process and for cosmetic reasons.

Maximal crop protection

One of the most important properties of a film coat is its ability to keep the plant protection products (PPPs) on the seed and contain them where they should be - with the seed in the soil. This is crucial to control dust-off, which limits exposing the environment and non-target organisms to dust particles, and to improve working conditions for growers and anyone handling the seed. PPPs are often controlled substances with a restricted permissible dosage. A film coating with good adhesion properties minimizes the loss of active ingredients. This allows the seed and seedling to get the most out of this standard dosage and provides the most favourable conditions for the development of a healthy crop.

Improving efficiency and yield

For fast and efficient transportation through the production equipment, the mechanical sowing process and packaging line, seeds need to flow easily. A smooth seed surface is essential for good flow. Seeds coated with our products will flow smoothly without clumping or bridging. This helps to avoid blockages and delays, speeding up the production process and making cleaning of equipment easy. At planting, there are additional benefits.With fewer skips in the mechanical planting drums, there is a seed for every spot making the best possible use of the land. Seeds are sown more precisely and spaced more accurately so that plants do not have to compete for water and nutrient uptake. This has a positive impact on growth, development and, ultimately, yield.


soya seedlings

Underlining seed quality

Distinguishing treated from untreated seed can be a reason to use a colourant and dark seeds can be given a bright colour to make them more visible on the soil. But often it is to underline the seed’s quality that our customers choose a coloured film coat. Incotec’s film coats give uniform coverage of the seed’s surface and come in many bright, appealing colours and visual effects to enhances the high-quality appearance. Our film coats score high consistently on abrasion resistance - even on the most challenging seed surfaces - and maintain uniform seed coverage during processing even when seeds are exposed to a lot of friction.

Seed safety

Developing the right film coat is a complex process but a crucial one to keep seeds safe. Seed characteristics vary from crop to crop and the products they need for protection and nourishment vary accordingly. Film coats need to be compatible with the specific traits and needs of each seed type, but also with whatever PPP packages are commonly used on that seed type. There are regional differences to be considered too, with different products being used in different regions and all with their own specific growing conditions.


At Incotec our mission is to add value by delivering an effective product with no negative effect on the seed, its shelf life, its germination or on the development of the seedling. We have been in the seed coating business since 1968 and we have a great deal of expertise. We know how film coats perform with PPPs. Working independently, we can develop products that are compatible with the various PPP packages used around the world. We also know seeds. We know their biology and their physiology, and we understand their diversity and their needs. Each of our film coats is developed to meet the requirements of an individual crop or group of crops. Our high-quality film coats have been designed to reduce dust as much as possible, thereby allowing our customers to meet the regulatory standards of ESTA (European Seed Treatment Assurance Scheme).

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Published by

  • Jérôme Garnier Market Applications Specialist
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SDSs and other resources

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