MSOB: Quiet Successes of Biological Seed Treatments

Brian GermanIndustry, Making Sense of Biologicals

Biological Seed Treatments

Biological seed treatments appear to be gaining traction in both adoption and efficacy. Vice President of Field Development and Technical Services for Marrone Bio, Timothy Johnson said that the issue is not widely publicized. Many row crop growers have seen positive returns from using seeds treated with biological materials.

“Everybody kind of likes to beat up on the farmer and this is a real success story where they’ve been able to adopt biologicals on literally tens of millions of acres successfully,” said Johnson. “We see seed treatments being used for insect control, for plant parasitic nematode control, for disease control, and then also for plant health, what people tend to call ‘biostimulants.’”

While there are compatibility challenges involved with treating seeds with biologicals, once the specifications have been met the seeds can be particularly valuable for growers. Johnson said that many biological seed treatments are intended to help promote early season growth and offer an efficient way to apply biological materials.

“One of the interesting things about using a biological as a seed treatment is that you have the opportunity to put the control material, your biological product, directly on the seed,” Johnson noted. “The seed essentially serves as the delivery vehicle as opposed to using some sort of a broadcast spray above ground.”

Listen to the full episode with Timothy Johnson below.

‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.

This episode of Making Sense of Biologicals is made possible by Marrone Bio Innovations, leading the movement to environmentally sustainable farming practices through the discovery, development and sale of innovative biological products for crop protection, crop health and crop nutrition. Marrone Bio’s portfolio of 18 products helps a wide range of growers – from row crops and fruits and vegetables to tree nuts, vines, and greenhouse production – operate more sustainably while increasing their return on investment. For educational webinars and biological IPM programs, visit