Techniques: Pelleting

Seed pelleting is the process of adding inert materials to seeds to change their size and shape for improved plantability.

 

Pelleting

Pelleting increases the weight, size and shape of seed allowing precise metering and spacing of seed in the field.

 

A range of benefits

Over the years the list of benefits have grown to include:

  • Less seed required per acre
  • O2 availability
  • Multiple densities available for planter seed drop advantage
  • Allows loading of seed applied plant protectants
  • Increases visibility in the field 

 

What kind of seeds are pelleted?

Seeds of various sizes are commercially pelleted, from relatively large seeds like onion and tomato to very small seeds like lettuce species.

For onion, the seed can increase in weight 6-fold due to pelleting; there are approximately 230 raw seeds per gram, and after pelleting the diameter may be 13.5/64th of an inch (0.54cm). The volume for 1000 propagules is 3.7 cm³ for raw seed compared to 18.0 cm³ after pelleting.

Begonia is the smallest seed that Seed Dynamics pellets. Median seed weight for raw begonia is 88,000 seeds per gram. After pelleting, the seed count can average 857 seeds per gram, an increased mass of over 100-fold.

 

Ideal for mechanical metering of valuable seed

Pelleting is ideal for mechanical seed metering/planting in direct field and protected culture applications. In the coastal and desert valleys of California and southwest Arizona (as in other agricultural areas), it is common to use precision belt, plate and vacuum planters. 

 
Split pellet technology for increased O2 availability

Historically, the primary obstacle for successful seed pellet development has been slow and erratic germination associated with insufficient oxygen available to the seed. The development of a splitting pellet like our High-Density, Medium-Density or Light-Density lettuce pellets are especially beneficial to growers that plant lettuce under saturated soil-water conditions caused by frequent irrigation after sowing. A pellet that can split open upon hydration allows oxygenated water to move directly to the seed.

 

Varying pellet weight options to fine tune plantings

We've developed different pellet weights and densities to meet growers needs to "fine-tune" planting to varied soil and field conditions.

Protected culture planters are generally in a controlled indoor environment using vacuum drum seeders. Often these growers will opt for a lighter density pellet under these parameters.

Lighter pellets weigh less per unit volume (boxes and pails are packed by seed number), so shipping costs are lower and handling is easier.

Higher density pellets for precise drops. Pellet weight is a factor when considering certain soil conditions and tractor/planter speed.