Seed pelleting

Seeds for sowing in the nursery or the open field are pelleted to improve the efficiency of the mechanical sowing process and to optimise conditions for good germination. It is also possible to integrate plant protection products, nutrients and growth stimulation products into the coating. A colour or visual effect can be added to give better seed visibility on the soil and to underline the quality appearance of seed.
 
seed pelleting process

Seed pelleting process

Seed pelleting is the process whereby carefully selected powders and liquid are used to form a shell around the seed. The seed is no longer visible, and its form is not distinguishable. Because of the enormous variation in seed properties and crop requirements, we are very careful to select the right materials for the crop. The rolling motion of the pan and the accurate timing and dosage of the pelleting materials is crucial to the quality of the pellet.

Pelleting seeds makes sowing faster and more efficient and can have a beneficial effect on germination. It also provides a secure and targeted way of applying nutrients and plant protection products directly to the seed.

 In some cases, seeds are pelleted using a rotary coater. This is a faster more automated pelleting method. The physical force exerted when using a rotary coater gives the pellet a different structure to that of seeds pelleted in a pan.. This makes it unsuitable for some crops. After pelleting, seeds need to be dried. This too is a delicate process. The drying parameters like temperature and time are calculated taking account of the sensitivity of the seed type. 

Why are seeds pelleted?

Pelleting seeds offers the grower a way to make the sowing process faster and more efficient and can help germination and support plant protection.

Improved sowing efficiency

In the sowing process, seeds are fed into individual cells in the sowing equipment. If the shape of the seed is irregular, the equipment needs more adjusting and skips and doubles are more likely to occur. Pelleting gives all the seeds a uniform size and weight which significantly reduces this risk and results in a more precise positioning of the seeds and a faster sowing process.

Optimised germination conditions

The coating also helps to regulate moisture uptake of seed planted in the open field and has a beneficial effect on germination.

Plant protection

The pellet provides extra space allowing the addition of products for protection, nutrition and healthy seedling development. The components used in the pellet are carefully selected by Incotec to ensure compatibility and eliminate any concern of phytotoxicity. The specialised application technique gives an even seed-to-seed distribution of any active ingredients so that each seed gets exactly the right amount of support.

Which pellet is right for my crop?

We have several different types of pellet available. The best choice for your crop will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of sowing equipment used, the crops, the cultivation system and the growing conditions in your region. There are two categories: pellets that split open on contact with moisture and pellets that disintegrate. Both these actions give the seed direct access to moisture and oxygen. Within these categories there are pellets that are optimised for specific conditions, in the nursery, for example, or in the open field. Incotec's pellets are tailored to perform in specific growing conditions and climates and to meet specific local requirements. We have facilities all around the world and local experts who know the specific needs of the region.

Other seed enhancements

All our pelleting products are compatible with other seed-enhancing technologies. The right combination can create a very powerful package and deliver top-performing seeds. An example is our SanoKote products which are often used in Europe and Oceania for crops like brassica, leek, onion and endives. This combination product delivers the advantages of germination support and increased sowing efficiency combined with safe and precise delivery of plant protection products and in some cases crop nutrition and growth stimulation.  

Published by

  • Gaby Scholte Research Scientist
Leaflets

SDSs and other resources

Find SDSs, product information and other product-related literature.

seeds coated with different coloured seed coatings

Seed coating

Application of materials onto the surface of seeds to make seeds’ shape, size, weight and seed surface more uniform making planting easier and for application of products for plant protection and/or nourishment.

Greenhouse trialing of seed pelleting products for various crops

Sustainable seed pelleting

We always look for the most sustainable solutions to help our customers achieve their goals:

  • We integrate the active ingredients into the pellet so that they can be applied directly to the seed in a precise and targeted way. This significantly reduces the amount needed to be effective compared to foliar or in-furrow methods 
  • We are currently expanding our range of pelleting products suitable for organic farming
  • We are developing methods that will enable integration of biologicals into the seed coating, making sustainable and effective crop protection possible
  • We are currently working on a complete range of new-generation microplastic-free products in anticipation of upcoming regulatory restrictions
Find out more
Which type of pellet is best for your crop?