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Seed coating agents in China: challenges and opportunitiesqrcode

Jan. 12, 2018

Favorites Print Jan. 12, 2018
By Think Real - While it is getting hard to innovate traditional products, Chinese pesticide producers are now witnessing an annual growth of 10%+ in the domestic seed coating agent business. In Sept. 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture of the People's Republic of China announced its requirement of 90%+ seed coating treatment for winter wheat in key planting regions. With all these favourable factors, the domestic seed coating market starts a new round of striving development.
 
Development
 
China is the earliest country to treat seeds with chemical agents, but its seed treatment in modern sense didn’t start until the 1970s.
 
Phase I (1970s-early 1990s): mainly products containing thiram, carbendazim and carbofuran, which got the largest popularity in the 1980s and were phrased out in the 1990s.
 
Phase II (early 1990s-2010): mainly new active ingredients like triazole and neonicotine chemicals, as well as innovative types of formulations. Particularly, triazole seed coating agents have developed rapidly since 2010 due to its high activity, outstanding efficacy, broad fungicidal spectrum and great effect to promote seedling growth.
 
Phase III (after 2010): many foreign pesticide producers developed their leading products. For instance, Syngenta focuses on difenoconazole, fludioxonil, azoxystrobin, thiamethoxam and metalaxyl, with leading brands like Maxim XL®, “Ruisheng (锐胜)” and “Gelasi (格拉斯, for wheat)”; Bayer concentrates in tebuconazole and imidacloprid, leading brands including Gaucho®, Raxil® and Hombre®. Other international agrochemical giants such as Monsanto, BASF and Rotam also has introduced their seed coating agents onto the Chinese market, but only has limited varieties and thus cannot compete with the Syngenta and Bayer.
 
In fact, some multinational groups are engaged more in this business. Sipcam, for example, has gained increasing presence in Jiangsu market in the past two years. Its two leading products, 12% thiophanate-methyl + azoxystrobin + metalaxyl FS and 23% imidacloprid + fludioxonil + difenoconazol FS have won wide recognition. Arysta LifeScience China is also planning to launch new fungicides and seed coating agents. Notably, its innovative products will be combined with biostimulants to expand the application from the existing high value-added crops like fruits and vegetables to common grains such as corn, rice and wheat.
 
Applications
 
“Seed coating agents in China are mainly registered for use on corn, wheat, cotton, soybean, peanut and rice. Wheat and corn account for relatively large proportions, followed by peanuts,” introduced Li Yongping, senior agronomist of the National Agro-Tech Extension and Service Centre.
 
Specifically, the use of seed coating agents mainly concentrates in the planting areas of wheat, corn, soybean, peanuts and cotton in northern China, making up 80% of the market shares. Particularly, related products are widely accepted among farmers in Shandong, Henan and Anhui provinces (seed coating agents for rice still in weak market acceptance). In contrast, southern planting regions, mainly for rice and vegetables, account for a mere 8%.

Table 1: Seed coating agent application in China, 2017
Crop
Key planting ares
Proportion of
seed treatment
inputs to total
 pesticide costs
Remark
Corn
Northeast China, Northwest China, North China, Southwest China
31%
Wide applied in Northeast China and Northwest China than North China and Southwest China; reduced sales over the past two years affected by corn price
Rice
Northeast China, Northwest China, Hubei Province
10%
Increasing acceptance among farmers
Wheat
North China, Northwest China, East China
31%
Wide application among farmers; uneven product quality
Peanut
North China, Liaoning Province, Hubei
27%
Great efficacy against underground pests and sclerotium blight; huge market potential
Cotton
Yellow River basin and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
1%
 
Limited application
Source: NATESC
 
Despite the rapid development of domestic seed coating market, there are still nearly 50% sown areas using uncoated seeds, especially in fields of rice, vegetables and herbal plants. Thus this business has huge potential and great prospects.
 
FS and CS are the two leading types of seed coating formations. FS, in particular, has attracted many producers due to its high safety in use, convenience in transportation and storage, outstanding efficacy, little harm to environment and great film-forming ability.
 

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