As the fastest growing segment of the agricultural input industry, the $2.6 billion global seed treatment market continues to be recognized as a cost-effective and environmentally favorable means of increasing crop productivity, according to Kline's just published Seed Treatment Global Series: Market Analysis and Opportunities.

The United States remains the leading seed treatment market, claiming over 38% of global market share; however, China and Brazil in particular have eroded this lead over the last five years. Brazil now accounts for nearly 21 percent market share. Of the 10 leading crops encompassed by the report, corn/maize accounts for well over one-third of 2011 seed treatment sales, followed by wheat at just under one-fourth.

With at least 50 percent to 60 percent of crop yield provided by genetics, it has become increasingly important to protect the initial investment in seed and planting costs. Genetically engineered seed traits have significantly raised the cost of the seed because of technology and licensing fees, and growers are consequently strongly motivated to reduce seeding rates. Improved seed treatments that ensure adequate plant stand to maximize yields are putting the seed treatment market segment to the forefront.

Duncan Allison, Senior Associate at Kline's Specialty Pesticides Practice, notes "Seed treatments are a highly targeted means of applying minimal amounts of agrichemicals to crops and consequently offer both efficiency and minimal impact upon the soil environment. More recently developed products protect seedlings during the critical first three to four weeks of plant growth." As proof of the dynamic and valuable nature and scale of the market, several new seed treatment fungicides have been developed to combine with existing products to provide even broader spectrum control. There is also increasing interest in developing countries in more recent chemistry that offers improved protection of seed and seedlings. In established markets, the trend of providing complete solution products as part of the seed package is growing and overtreatments even of nematicides are being offered to supplement control so as to meet local needs.

Fierce competition in most seed markets is impelling companies to enhance the value of their branded products. The fact that the largest seed companies are also crop protection companies has allowed full integration of the two technologies - seeds and crop protection products - and can ultimately simplify procedures for farmers by offering a coordinated and holistic approach to both enhance crop yield and minimize seed/seedling losses.

Allison continues, "While seed can be treated on the farm by the farmer, it's not easy to get good distribution on the seed. Farmers in developed and developing countries alike are recognizing the value of getting new seed each year and seed companies supplying that seed are realizing the value of treating their supplies so that the farmer increases his/her chance of getting a better stand and crop yield."

Kline's Seed Treatment Global Series: Market Analysis and Opportunities covers the 2011 marketing year and offers a comprehensive analysis designed to provide crop protection suppliers with the latest information on the size, structure, and outlook for the seed treatment pesticide market in major country/crop markets across the globe.