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Super Slurper Seeds Now Ready For Market
You've probably heard about seeds coated with absorbent "super slurper" coatings that soak up moisture for quick germination. Starting next spring, you should be able to buy super slurper seeds commercially.
Researchers have been coating seed for several years on a small basis but no one has had the machinery necessary to apply super slurper coatings commercially. Now Biosorb Inc., a newly formed Eden Prairie, Minn. firm, has, introduced a machine that it plans to begin leasing to commercial seed handlers this fall.
The absorbent coating's main ingredient is a super absorbent corn starch that was patented by the USDA in 1976 and which is now licensed to some 50 companies that make everything from diapers to batteries. According to Dale Behmer, Biosorb marketing manager, other companies have tried and failed to come up with a machine to apply the coating to seeds.
"No one could come up with a machine to do the two-stage coating that's necessary. Our machine applies a latext adhesive and the corn starch coating, adding various conditioning additives, if desired," says Behmer. "The seed coating also protects the seed coat from damage, especially for soybeans and cotton seed."  -
Experts don't agree on the benefits of super slurpers but Behmer says yields on test plots have shown yield increases from 0 to 25%, depending on conditions.
"If there is any moisture stress, the coating draws any available moisture to the seed and helps get a good stand established. Even when there is adequate moisture, we feel the coating helps the seed germinate faster and give several days more maturity that may well be worth the $2 to $4 an acre it costs to treat the seed," says Behmer.
Biosorb points to successful tests on cotton seeds in Texas, corn in Illinois and Wisconsin, soybeans and corn in Minnesota and wheat in the Dakotas. In each case, treated seeds germinated faster than untreated seeds, although yields differed by soil type and moisture conditions. The company feels it may have its best initial success in semi-arid growing areas.
The company leases machines for around $7,000 a year.
For more information on where seed will to available, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Biosorb, Inc., 6876 Washington Ave., Eden Prairie, Minn. 55344 (ph 612 944-5110).

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #5