LIFE STIMUL Project
Seed Treatments to keep Inputs at Minimum Use Level
Objectives of the project
Due to ecological considerations, economic and environmental demands, the farmers must constantly improve their agriculture practices. They have to adopt the most profitable practices in order to generate the highest crop yields, using fewer chemical inputs with lower toxicity as environmental considerations.
In this context, our project aims to validate an innovative and ecological seed treatment solution that will give the farmer the opportunity to reduce:
- the use of fertilizers and pesticides
- the water consumption
The two objectives of the project are the following
- to demonstrate that the new seed treatment can be used in combination with existing seed treatments and can be processed within existing seed treatment facilities. The treatment corresponds to a natural derived polymer which is already selected and industrialized,
- to demonstrate that using treated seeds (with a combination of seed treatments including our product) delivers the promise of an input reduction for the farming practices using this treatment.
The goal is thereby to propose a new seed treatment in combination with other seed treatments in areas where the environment impact is the highest and where it is economically relevant. Then, we will be able to industrially produce these treated seeds. Finally the project aims to acquire performance data from field tests in some European regions, in accordance with the variety of practices of the European Agriculture in order to confirm the initial performance assessment of the solution and to promote its usage towards identified users of the seed treatment value chain at a wide scale.
In terms of water consumption: give crops a new way to better resist water stress, allowing a better usage of available water.
In terms of economic benefits:
- The use of the technology as seed treatment for farmers will lead to equivalent yield benefits as standard treatments with less use of agricultural inputs
- Higher revenues for farmers due to crops yield improvements and cost efficiency in seed treatment process
LIFE STIMUL project is coordinated by Rhodia Opérations S.A.S., subsidiary of Solvay Group.
Aegilops is the Associated Beneficiary.
The project, registered as LIFE14 ENV/FR/000493, started on August 1st, 2015 to end in July 2019.
The proposed solution is an innovative method which allows increasing the growth of a plant by seed coating using a natural agro-polymer extracted from a legume plant. It will notably allow developing its biomass and reaching its maturity through a better control of water and nutrient transport from the soil to the plant at the early stages of plant development. This innovative method will be easily carried out and easily applied using conventional and commercially available application equipment.
The component for coating is a natural polymer produced from a legume plant with some minor chemical modification to obtain optimum germination enhancement. It consists then in a powder mixed with water, to be used as a seed coating (possibly in parallel with other treatments). This seed Booster is not an “active” material like a fungicide or an insecticide, neither a super-absorbent: though it can store some water, it diffuses in the soil next to the seed and creates a gradient of wettability that controls the transport of water and water soluble nutrients towards the seed. It also favors a denser network of roots at early stage that will develop further at later stages.
The proposed solution comprises an agro-polymer (Solvay) and a seed treatment machine for mixing and delivering the coating (Aegilops and Solvay). The seed treatment machine itself is made of 2 parts:
- A batch seed coater which can be commercially available
- A system delivering it into the seed coater
The STIMUL project will focus on the development of industrial tools to apply the innovative seed treatment solution within existing facilities and on the validation of the seed treatment technologies by assessing the additional benefits thanks to agronomical tests.