Advantages of Coated Seed
Over the past decade, research and methodology in cover crop scenarios has increased. The key for these crops is establishment in typically less than ideal seeding conditions. Coated seed for fly-on applications has proven beneficial, but the true benefit of using coated seed in cover crops goes well beyond this.
Coated Grass Seed
Obviously, one of the strongest reasons to coat grass seed for cover cropping is ballistics. Our coating material when applied to grass seed doubles the bulk density of the finished product. In fly-on planting this converts to much greater accuracy of the drop, and greatly reduces the amount of wind drift once the seed leaves the plane. As the seed reaches its target area, this increase in density also increases the likelihood of the seed making contact with soil, where lighter seed may not have the velocity to bypass crop debris.
Once on the ground, the benefits of the coating material continue. Coated seed has a much greater surface area than uncoated seed which greatly increases seed to soil contact, and therefore increases that seeds opportunity for establishment.
Another favorable property of the coating material we use is that it is naturally hygroscopic, in other words its capillary action wicks in moisture. This absorbent property softens the seed and provides a more consistent level of moisture for germination. With the neutral PH level and water-holding capacity of our coating, coated grass seed is good insurance for establishing a healthy cover crop.
All the Above
The advantages of coating we discussed for grasses in cover crops are also true for legume seeds. However, the strongest argument for coating legumes can be summed up with one word: nitrogen.
In almost every scenario where legumes are used in cover crops, the desired outcome is nitrogen enriched soil. The amount of nitrogen benefit from a cover crop is directly proportional to the plants ability to maximize nitrogen fixing nodules in its root system.
However, without the presence of a healthy population of rhizobium to infect the root hairs, nodulation, and, therefore, nitrogen fixation, will be minimal. These rhizobium are the key to a legume crops ability to put nitrogen back into the soil.
Lots of Live Rhizobium
Our coating process, combined with very high quality inoculants, allows each seed to establish itself with a massive population of live rhizobium ready to colonize the developing root system.
If the objective is to put more nitrogen back in the field, then it is critical that each legume seed hits the ground with a high population of live rhizobium ready to go to work. This converts to hundreds of pounds of atmospheric nitrogen fixed per acre, as compared to raw or poorly inoculated seed.
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Our coating process combined with very high quality inoculants allows each seed to establish itself with a massive population of live rhizobium ready to colonize the developing root system. If the objective is to put more nitrogen back in the field, then it is critical that each legume seed hits the ground with a high population of live rhizobium ready to go to work. This converts to hundreds of pounds of atmospheric nitrogen fixed per acre, compared to raw or poorly inoculated seed.
Smith Seed Services