The global biological seed treatment market size was valued at USD 1.08 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 2.67 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 10.61% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The world is transitioning towards organic farming from conventional farming practices owing to its health benefits along with several other benefits, thereby driving the global biological seed treatment market. In addition, techniques such as bio-priming have been used in recent years to enhance crop efficiency, thus boosting market expansion.
Biological seed treatments are a diverse category of products, with active constituents including living microorganisms, plant extracts, fermentation products, phytohormones, and even inorganic chemicals. Biological seed treatment benefits include increased nutrient availability in the rhizosphere, increased nutrient absorption, enhanced root and shoot growth, protection from pathogens, and improved nutrient utilization efficiency.
Biological seed treatments ensure that the early-season growth rate is maximized, stress is minimized, and yield potential remains high. Local factors, such as crop rotation, soil environment, pathogen load, and growing conditions, will determine whether these benefits correlate directly with yield in any given year. Seed treatment is a prevalent method of delivering biological products because the product is close to the crop's roots from day one.
|Market Size||USD 2.67 billion by 2031|
|Fastest Growing Market||Asia-Pacific|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
One of the key factors enhancing the growth of the biological seed treatment market includes the rising trend of organic farming. Globally, the area used for organic farming has grown dramatically over the last several years; in 2020, it was estimated to be 74.9 million hectares, up from 69.5 million hectares in 2017. The demand for organic products is thriving due to a rise in health-conscious consumers, growing incomes, and improved farming practices that make organic crops more robust. Thus, the increasing demand for organic food has increased the area under organic farming worldwide.
Additionally, the government is emphasizing biological control methods for disease management. The proliferation of organic agricultural practices has driven the adoption of biological seed treatment, especially among government-controlled farming communities. Hence, the rising organic farming practices and the growing awareness among consumers over environment, health, quality, and safety, coupled with favorable government policies, is anticipated to foster the biofertilizer market at a phenomenal rate in the forecast period, thereby boosting global market expansion.
Bio-priming is the most cost-effective, straightforward, and eco-friendly method for delivering beneficial microorganisms to an agroecosystem. Seed bio-priming technology produces a crop with higher nutritional quality, greater water efficiency, better seed germination, protection against plant infections, and decreased environmental pollution.
Furthermore, bio-priming offers enormous potential to lower the amount of energy and agrochemicals needed in the food production system, improving the cost-benefit ratio. Adaptive farming techniques, such as seed bio-priming, are essential for ensuring food, nutrition, and health security. Therefore, adaptive farming practices, like seed bio-priming techniques, are predicted to drive the biological seed treatment market in the coming year.
One problem with biological seed treatments is that they are relatively more expensive than chemical seed treatments. Biological seed treatment costs more per acre than chemical chemicals since chemical seed treatment and seeds are produced at a mass level, thus reducing their cost per unit. However, the same is not true in the case of biological seed treatment.
Furthermore, seed costs constitute a greater percentage of operating costs due to associated seed technology fees. As a result, farmers may hesitate to utilize FST (fungicides used for seed treatment) if this agricultural practice yields minimal or negligible financial gains. Therefore, high product costs are restraining the biological seed treatment market globally.
High-value industrial crops are high-yielding crops that generate a higher net per hectare of product. Leading companies are spending more on research and development to create novel biological products that can be used in different soil types and geographies while still producing high-yielding crops. For instance, BASF expanded its soybean seed treatment portfolio in 2018 by introducing Obvius® Plus fungicide seed treatment and Vault IP Plus seed treatment, registered by the Environmental Protection Agency. This will provide soybean growers with a broader portfolio that will help them get off to a strong start this season.
Additionally, in 2020, Bayer's pipeline commercialized ten crop protection formulations, developing three key biotech products to provide farmers worldwide with more than 430 new commercialized hybrids, like varieties of soybeans, corn, cotton, and vegetables. Therefore, these initiatives by the key companies are expected to create market growth opportunities.
Europe Dominates the Global Market
Based on region, the global biological seed treatment market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Europe is the most significant global biological seed treatment market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 10.72% during the forecast period. European biological seed treatment market growth is anticipated to be propelled by expanding agricultural practices and the demand for high-quality agricultural products. The primary aspects driving the growth of this market in the European region are the government policies adopted by developed nations for the ban of key active ingredients. In addition, Spain is one of the largest wheat producers in the European region. As per FAO, the production quantity of wheat was recorded at 8.14 metric tons in 2020, followed by 6.04 metric tons in 2019. The rising acceptance of biofungicides in seed treatment by Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus subtilis minimizes the growth of the fungal infestation in the root zone, further propelling the growth of the market studied in the coming years.
Many key players in the market also focus on developing biological seed treatments to align with the growing market for biological seed treatment solutions. For instance, in 2018, BASF France Agro received approval for the first biological seed treatment for rapeseed Integral® Pro, a biofungicide claimed to protect the seeds from soil-pathogenic fungi pythids and aid in stimulating the natural defenses of rapeseed against flea beetles.
North America is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 9.7% over the forecast period. The demand for higher yields because of the rapid increase in crop consumption increased the demand for biological seed treatment in the North American region. The surging adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) drove the usage of biocontrol agents in plants for disease control without any chemical residues in the country, thereby boosting the demand for the market studied. According to the USDA, corn is the primary US feed grain, contributing more than 95% of total feed grain production and use. In the United States, seed treatment is used on almost 90 percent of corn seeds, and the demand for biological seed treatment is only projected to rise. Regional players have also been involved in partnership agreements to commercialize biological seed treatment products. For instance, in April 2021, FMC Corporation entered a distribution agreement with Syngenta Crop Protection to commercialize biological seed treatment solutions for corn and soybeans in Canada, targeting the suppression of key diseases and nematodes. These factors drive market growth.
The Asia-Pacific is expected to register the fastest growth rate. The government's support for organic farming is the primary driver of market growth in the region. For instance, the Government of India has promoted organic farming through various schemes like Mission Organic Value Chain Development and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in the North-East Region (MOVCDNER) since 2015-16. These schemes support organic farmers from organic production to certification and marketing, including post-harvest management. This has a positive influence on the market. Similarly, as per the data by Statistics Bureau of Japan, rice production volume in the Japanese agricultural sector in 2018 amounted to 7.8 million metric tons. Considering the large-scale rice production in the country, Japan has been leading in the technological development of seed treatments for rice, and it subsequently has been leading in the growth of the biological seed treatment market.
Brazil dominated the South American market. With Brazilian grain production narrowly focused on maize and soybeans, virtually every seed gets treated, often more than once, before it is planted. Therefore, this is expected to drive the market for biological seed treatment products during the forecast period. The increasing rate of pest infestations, synthetic-pesticide resistance, and an increasing focus on sustainable organic farming practices are the alternatives to synthetic seed treatment applications in the region. Due to the surge in demand for biological seed treatment in the country, players are adopting various strategies to gain a good market share. In 2021, Rizobacter and Marrone Bio Innovations announced the distribution of Rizonema, a novel biological seed treatment for nematodes and soil-dwelling insects, for application in row crops in Brazil through an expanded distribution agreement.
The global biological seed treatment market is segmented by function and crop type.
Based on the function, the global biological seed treatment market is segmented into seed protection, seed enhancement, and other functions.
The seed protection segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 10.5% during the forecast period. Seed protection is one of the major functions offered by biological seed treatment. The increasing trend of biocontrol ingredients used in biological seed treatment products supports seed protection and seedlings from various pathogens. It also improves sustainable agricultural practices in the arable land during planting and the first few weeks of emergence and seedling growth. Applying beneficial microorganisms to seeds is an efficient mechanism for placing microbial inoculum into the soil, where they will be well-positioned to colonize seedling roots and protect against soil-borne diseases. It also gives protection against oxidative stress induced by heavy metals.
A study conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2018 reported that the seed treatment of biological control agents, such as Streptomyces griseoviridis K61 (Mycostop), Streptomyces lydicus WYEC108 (Actinovate), and Pseudomonas fluorescens A506 (BlightBan), reduced bacterial spot and the fungal diseases anthracnose and early blight in field tomato and pepper, which will further boost the demand for the biological seed treatment.
The expansion of the seed enhancement segment of the market is anticipated to be driven by rising farmer awareness, increased marketing efforts from major players, consequent intensifications, and supportive government policies over the forecast period. Seed enhancements have extensive commercial applications, such as improved crop stands through better germination rates and seedling vigor, which are effective in crop stress management and improved crop yields. Seed enhancement technologies, such as seed priming and coating with biocontrol agents, are the standard procedures for most crop and horticultural seeds. In 2017, a study conducted by the Indonesian Center for Agricultural Biotechnology and Genetic Resource Research and Development, West Java, Indonesia, determined that the rice (Oryza sativa L.) seeds coated with biological agents and treated with Pseudomonas diminuta and Bacillus subtilis (from 0.74 x 106 to 0.28 x 106 cfu mL-1) improved seed quality and reduced levels of Xoo infection in a rice field.
Based on crop type, the global biological seed treatment market is segmented into grains and cereal, oil seeds, vegetables, and other crop types.
The grains and cereals segment is the largest revenue contributor to the market and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 11.11% over the forecast period. Paddy seeds can be treated with 20% mint leaf extract for 12 hours before sowing, increasing the germination rate and vigor of seedlings. This will also help control Helminthosporium leaf spot disease in paddy in India. In addition, paddy seeds are mixed with biofertilizers like Azospirillum and Pseudomonas (1.25 kg/60 to 70 kg of seeds) in one liter of cooled rice gruel, mixed with sprouted seeds, and shade-dried for 30 minutes before sowing to enhance plant vigor index and uniform root and shoot growth. Therefore, the factors above reveal the potential increase in the application of biological seed treatment in the grains and cereal segment and are anticipated to expedite the market's growth during the forecast period.
The University of São Paulo, Brazil, 2020, evaluated the effect of biological inputs for soybean seed treatment on crop development and yield in three municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul, with grain yield of treatments with fludioxonil, Trichoderma spp., and the growth stimulator Biozyme being up to 14% higher than the control. The study indicated that treating soybean seeds increased crop development and grain yield. In addition, India, China, and Pakistan are the major countries that cultivate most of the cotton in Asia-Pacific. By 2018, India had achieved 92% penetration of genetically modified cotton. The growing adoption of GM cotton is expected to drive the demand for biological seed treatment in cotton during the forecast period. Therefore, the growing adoption of biological seed treatment in developing nations and the higher demand for oilseed products globally are essential to bolstering the market's growth.