In 2019, sunflower growers who used Nuseed hybrids noticed something different: a new green polymer seed coating. It was the beginning of a transition of seed technology advancement for its entire sunflower seed portfolio, which growers saw in 2020.
Addressing the Need for Change
Why the change? Nuseed wants to ensure that it offers its customers the best in available seed technology, including the polymer it uses. It expects this new seed coating to provide growers with improved flowability, decreased bridging and increased singularity at planting.
“All three of those factors help the sunflower kernel go through the planter,” says Garrett Driver, Nuseed Supply Chain Manager.
“This came from feedback from growers and customers, people who are out in the fields using our seed in real-world conditions. They wanted no bridging, better singulation, and better flowability through their equipment. And so, about four years ago, we started our trials to address those concerns.”
Sunflower seeds, of course, are unique in their size and shape which makes them more of a challenge to work with. While Nuseed’s previous seed coating did the job for many years, as both seeds and seeding equipment have evolved, it was an opportunity to improve coatings.
Flowability and bridging was a top priority. Bridging occurs when the seed stops flowing and forms a dam or clog inside the machine.
“It eventually shakes loose, and the seeds fall through, but what sometimes happened is you would cover, say, 600 acres in a field, but you’d get gaps where no seed got planted because the clog hadn’t dislodged itself at that point,” Driver says.
“There were also some grower issues that were identified in terms of just overall stand establishment in some of their sunflower fields as well, which can result from singulation problems.”
Singulation refers to the measurement of the planter dropping one seed at a time into the seed tube. Singulation differs from seed spacing in that even if singulation is perfect, spacing is affected by what happens subsequent to the seed being dropped into the tube. Spacing can be affected by everything from mechanical issues to the speed the seeder is being pulled at.
“Our sales team got out there with the growers during planting, to see exactly what was occurring.”
It’s that direct feedback and insight from growers that ultimately allowed Nuseed to develop a solution.