Video No. 7 | Seed Priming or Imbibing

What Science Says About


About this Series

An engaging series of 11 videos that feature Dr Hooshang Nassery and Carol Phillips in a conversational style presentation about the science that underpins RLF product and practice.

It has been called ON SOLID GROUND for good reason, because the science of plant physiology provides the indisputable basis upon which all RLF products are developed.

This series will bring a relaxed and simple understanding for farmers and growers everywhere about the science that underpins the RLF brand, and the expertise that goes into every specialised crop nutrition product that RLF manufactures.

Carol Phillips talks with Dr Hooshang Nassery about Seed Priming or Imbibing

Carol Phillips (CP) : Hooshang, we know there’s some confusion at times between the term Seed Priming or imbibing, and the process of seed coating. Can you explain the differences?

Dr Hooshang Nassery (HN) : Yes. Well, the imbibing process is really something that generally refers to water. But then, people have used it with diluted nutrient solution in the past with one single element, and imbibed the seed, or primed the seed if we like, with potassium – or potassium nitrate – or maybe one single element, trace element. And then found that it increases the yield. Coating is a different process, and normally is done, where rather than putting trace elements in the granular fertiliser, we put it in a coat – in a slurry or a paste – and coat the seed (on the outside). So, the aim is not to go into the seed, and it doesn’t go into the seed because the concentration is very high in that scenario. Priming, in the sense that we have developed in RLF product, has unique characteristics. It is acid. It is high in phosphorus. And it has got the whole range of essential trace elements. Therefore when you prime the seed, the only (well not the only), but the only way to survive the seed beyond that priming is actually to dry it. But in order to avoid that drying process, RLF has developed the product in a manner that, when it is applied to the seed, after a few minutes the seed naturally gets dry. First of all, there isn’t enough water to override that optimum level of seed water – water content. And then secondly, we have developed the BSN in a manner that extra water will evaporate very quickly. So the art of priming and drying is done in one step, on large scale, without a need to have evaporation techniques, or heating techniques, or vacuum techniques to dry the seed. And this is really the reason that RLF expanded so rapidly into larger scale farming, because the farmers’ plant tonnes of seed, and it’s not practical for them to apply large volumes to the seed and then dry it. But with RLF technology, we can now apply low volumes, it dries very quickly, it runs very quickly through the seeder without any requirement to have a softener, if you like, or some sort of talcum powder type of thing, to get treated. Although, that in some cases it is useful if they’ve used too much of the product. But in general, this is the art of the priming-drying technology, in one step, on a larger scale. And it has been very successful, and the average yield increases probably of 5% to 10% to 15% results from that single process of priming.

CP : So, RLF’s technology has actually developed a fertiliser specifically for the seed. And that’s the process of imbibing, and that’s the end result of that (process). Is that it?
HN : Yes, that’s right. We have checked the result in-field, in the production of the yield of the crop. And just to give you an example, if we treat wheat seeds with BSN, and we go in the field (or rice for that matter) and start counting the number of tillers, we find surprisingly that the tillers emerged sooner, and one type of tiller that is referred to as coleoptile tiller – which is like a sister plant coming off – rather than true tiller, is increased tremendously with that treatment. So, what it does, is basically makes one seed to have two potentials, and it is well known in the literature that crown tillers or coleoptile tillers as sometimes referred to, is always associated with higher yield. And, we have recorded this in the field with good numbers and good statistics.
CP : So there’s great benefit for a farmer to use a BSN product to prime the seed.
HN : Yes. And the cost of it would probably in the order of less than 5%, or around 5%, of total fertiliser cost. And that is why it’s been taken up so widely in agricultural or broadacre
cropping systems.
CP : Thank you for that explanation.
HN : Sure.
About Dr Hooshang

Hooshang is RLF's Plant Physiologist and he heads the company's Research, Development and Technical team. He brings the knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry with over 40 years of experience and he has played a central role in a number of new product developments, including the world-leading and innovative seed nutrition technology BSN. Contact Hooshang.

About Carol

Carol is RLF's Communications, Media and Policy consultant. She is the main author of information, marketing and website publications and part of her role is to plan targeted marketing and information strategies and resources for both customers and the wider RLF team. Contact Carol.

RLF Product Categories

RLF has 11 key product categories.

They all include specially developed and technically advanced crop nutrition products for all crop types, deficiencies and conditions.

The links at the following categories identify the specific, high-technology products available in each of the product categories.

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