Seed treatment is defined as treating seeds with chemicals such as Metalaxyl 35 WS, Imidaclorpid 48% FS and others, which are used to biologically enhance and protect the seeds. This is used in order to control diseases caused due to soil borne infections, blight and root rot, fungal disease, termite bunt, false smut, loose smut, and others. Fungicide seed treatments help in protecting seedlings from both soil and seed pathogens. Seed-borne pathogens are those dwelling on the seed surface, or those situated in the inner part of the seed. Soil-borne pathogens infects the seed or seedling, which anchors the growth of both parasitic and non-parasitic diseases.
Rising demand for genetically modified seeds, increase in feedstock fuelling demand for biofuel and feed, and the use of fungicides as a primary crop protection solution to high yield potential are some of the major drivers for growth of the seed treatment fungicides market. However, one of the major challenges for seed treatment fungicides market is increasing number of high number of farmers using treated seeds. In 2013, a study conducted by the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) in Iowa and North Carolina, reported that about 90% of the farmers used treated seeds and only 35% of the farmers were using fungicides as treated seeds are abundantly available and there is a large number of suppliers compare to fungicides manufacturers. According to FAO, Iowa was the leading country in corn production in 2015, closely followed by Illinois and Nebraska. Iowa and Illinois each produced about 2 billion bushels of corn crop in 2015 while Minnesota and Indiana, produced over 1 billion bushels of corn in 2015.
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Increasing demand from the food & beverage industry and those dependent on agricultural feed is expected to fuel growth of the seed treatment fungicides market. Seed dressing fungicides is the most commonly used technique, due to low cost and easy procedure compared to others. Low cost earthen pots are used for mixing pesticides with seed or seed can be spread on a polythene sheet and required quantity of chemical can be sprinkled on seed and mixed mechanically by the farmers. Seed dressing fungicides technique is a biological process, which is used in various crop types such as in sugarcanes, pigeon pea, tomato, and chilies.
In North America, U.S. is the leading consumer of seed treatment fungicides. Stringent government regulations towards reducing or curbing the use of agrochemicals coupled with increasing consumer awareness towards the presence of fertilizer residues in the produce, has resulted in a substantial increase in demand for seed treatment fungicides. According to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA); smuts and seedling-blight diseases caused in wheat, barley, oats, and others are controlled by seed treatment fungicides, which helps to kill the infections inside the seed during germination. The production of crops as feedstock for biofuels is another major reason for the large-scale use of seed treatment fungicides in North America. For instance, U.S. is a leading producer of maize, which is used for biofuel, thus the use of maize for biofuels drives the demands for seed treatment fungicides in the region.
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Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing region in the seed treatment fungicides market over the forecast period. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2017, China and India are the leading producers of wheat across the globe. This could aid key players such as BASF and Bayer to establish its agrochemicals units in the region and thus, expand their presence. For instance, in August, 2017, BASF introduced the first strobilurin fungicides in the market to provide more control over the fungal pathogens. The other product named Stamina gives wheat and barley seeds the right start in cold conditions with high disease control to deliver a healthier and stronger plant. Other factors such as increasing innovation in generations of fungicides such as strobilurins is expected to fuel growth of the seed treatment fungicides market in Asia Pacific during the forecast period.