Since the first word of the first rumor leaked out, there has been a buzz amid the no-till community about seed coatings. But not just any seed coating, coatings that would delay germination for up to 20 days, opening a new realm of different possibilities.
Here’s an exclusive interview with Ray Stewart, Ph.D., founder of Landec Corporation and Senior Vice President of Intellicoat Corporation on the exciting new breakthrough in seed coating and what it could mean for the future of no-till. (For more information, see “New Seed Coatings Mean Exciting No-Till Changes” on pages 6 and 7 or the September, 1999 issue of No-Till Farmer.)
Q: What started the idea of a seed coating?
A: “At Intellicoat, we’ve been working on developing temperature-responsive polymers since ‘93. At that point, the whole idea of coating seeds with polymer-controlled germination was pretty new. It wasn’t even clear what the commercial application might be. But it was obvious that if you could control germination based on temperature in the environment, you’d have a powerful tool for farming. All the growth of seeds is controlled by the environment. So a polymer that could interact with the seed that could control whether or not it grew is very powerful.”
Q: How did you get started?
A: “We initially looked at application of early planting of soybeans and corn. In fact, we were able to demonstrate through laboratory tests and field tests that our technology could offer a way for the farmers to plant 2…