# Seed Treatment #Follow
−− Interview with Fanny VANEL, Marketing Manager at Staphyt Group
Nov. 12, 2020
The growth in seed technology follows the big trends of agricultural practice changes, such as minimising environment and human exposure and reducing pesticide use. From the farmer’s perspective, the use of treated seeds maximises seed potential and improves crop performance both in the field or greenhouse.
“At Staphyt, over the past few years, we have noticed an increase in the requests from our clients for seed treatment (ST) testing, whether they are multinationals or SMEs. Application of seed applied technologies can include fungicides, insecticides, nematicides, plant growth regulators, plant health products, inoculants or micronutrients. At Staphyt, insecticides and fungicides, based on biological substances, are the most frequent requests we receive,” Fanny VANEL, Marketing Manager at Staphyt Group, told AgroPages in an interview.
Today those involved in the crop production sector, including seeds breeders, product suppliers and manufacturers of seeds applied technology equipment are working hand in hand to deliver solutions to worldwide agriculture. “At Staphyt we are here to support them in their product development and regulatory strategy,” said Fanny.
Marketing Manager at Staphyt Group
What services can STAPHYT provide for the seed treatment industry? What are the advantages of STAPHYT’s seed treatment testing service?
At Staphyt we operate both across the seed breeding industry and the crop protection/nutrition industries. Our combined services positioning is totally in parallel with the strategy of merging product-seeds-traits portofolio of our clients. We evaluate, in controlled conditions and in the field, the efficacy, selectivity and safety of the product applied on seeds as well as the beneficial effects of such products on the agronomy potency of varieties.
With all these competences, we are able to provide a full range of services from the seed treatment application to a global testing program for product or variety registration.
We also offer regulatory support to companies producing plant protection products for use as a seed treatment. We have recently submitted an active substance renewal dossier for a seed treatment use and have successfully supported plant protection products for seed treatment use through Step 2 re-registration and the interzonal authorisation process.
Why do we need to test the treated seeds? Take Europe as an example, what are the regulatory requirements for seed treatment?
In Europe, when a PPP is to be used as a seed treatment an authorisation is required in each Member State where the seed is to be treated (Art. 28 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009). Although the resulting seeds are not considered to be a PPP as the sowing of seeds can lead to similar effects, they are also included in the risk assessment process and an assessment of the efficacy and crop safety is required. In addition to the data requirements for PPPs set out in Regulation (EU) No 284/2013 which includes data specific to seed treatment products, such as the adherence and distribution to seeds, uniformity of distribution. Additional data/information may be required e.g. residue data in seedlings grown from the treated seed in order to refine the bird and mammal risk assessment and an assessment of the risk from dust drift on to non-target species during sowing.
If the claims supported are an increase of crop growth by direct (fertilizer) or indirect (biostimulant) effect, then the regulatory requirements are currently defined on a country by country basis. This will be harmonised in 2022 by Regulation (EU) 2019/1009.
What are the specific steps involved in the seed treatment testing?
A seed treatment trial goes as follows:
Product application on seeds
We apply the product on batches of seeds. The application of products is performed in accordance with manufacturer guidelines and according to good stewardship practices at all stages of the product use cycle. For large seed quantities and specific batch treatment, we work with specialized partners in seed treatment application.
From a regulatory perspective potatoes are considered as seeds (Art 49 Re 1107/2009), at Staphyt we are able to treat the tuber with a specific roller table treatment application.
Roller table treatment for potato tubers
Seed treatment application machinery
Batch preparation and dispatch on our GEP/GLP field trials sites across Europe
Seed batches preparation and dispatch
Testing treated seeds in controlled conditions
According to OEPP methods and other protocols, we can perform seed treatment trials with artificial inoculation (damping-off pathogens, such as Fusarium and Pythium) in vitro and in planta tests in growing chambers. We are evaluating the efficacy of the product, the germinative rate as well as the impact of ST product on the early stages of growth.
Controlled conditions pot trials
Germination rate test
Our agronomists first select an appropriate field site (soil characteristic, crop variety, pest presence, abiotic stresses…). They built trial design and protocol study in accordance with client’s needs. The sowing and harvesting stages are carried out throughout Europe thanks to a high-quality innovative fleet of equipment using precision seeder drillers and harvesters.
Assessments are done according to the products' intended claims. In the field, we evaluate the product’s efficacy, seed safety, emergence, application characteristics. Besides standard assessments, Staphyt develops drone images capture, useful for biostimulant trials which may require a global aerian view to evaluate crop development.
Corn variety trial platform
Wheat septoria trial platform
In which countries can STAPHYT provide seed treatment testing services? What is your company’s international expansion plan on seed treatment testing service?
Staphyt has two laboratories in France and Poland performing applications on arable or vegetable seeds. With over 70 trial stations in Europe, seed treatment field trials can be conducted in all climatic conditions and EPPO zones in Europe.
Staphyt was the 1st CRO to invest and develop study management on biological products (Bioteam). Biostimulants, for example, are products often applied with the seed treatment technology on which our teams are working. To respond precisely and effectively to these projects, we continue to invest. This year our testing capacities under controlled conditions at Martillac laboratory (France) have increased considerably. The establishment of field microplot platforms dedicated to the evaluation of biological products is also being developed.
What do you think of the development prospect of the seed treatment industry? How about the seed treatment testing industry?
Since 2018, Europe ST market has been generally flat due to neonecotinoids bans and the forecast growth in ST sector is predicted to come from biological compounds with new technology introductions.
Seed treatment technology gathers the properties to be both effective and safe to human health as well as to the environment. They have been used for decades in agriculture and still remain a sustainable solution for the plant protection, nutrition and breeding sectors.
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