• Explore 100 Years of Innovation in Seed Treatment by browsing through our interactive timeline

    Open Timeline
  • 100 Years of Innovation in Seed Treatment

100 Years of Innovation in Seed Treatment

Ground-breaking achievements that changed the world of farming

In 1914 Bayer launches Uspulun, the first-ever solution to the centuries-old problem of fungal diseases in cereals. By 2014 Bayer SeedGrowth™ is already established as a fully integrated system for on-seed applications. A century of innovations from Bayer that has benefited the entire seed treatment value chain and changed the world of farming for the better. As we enter our second century of seed treatment, our expertise, experience, and all-encompassing Bayer SeedGrowth™ competencies will pave the way for more groundbreaking achievements in the future. So everyone in the seed treatment value chain continues to benefit from Bayer SeedGrowth™.

The dawn of a new era with disease-beater Uspulun

For century after century some unknown disease had turned whole fields of corn black. Only in the early 19th century was a fungal pathogen identified as the cause.

In 1911 the Bayer chemist Georg Wesenberg discovered that chlorophenol mercury effectively controlled those fungal pathogens without impairing treated seeds’ ability to germinate. In July 1914 this active substance was launched as the liquid seed treatment Uspulun. The significantly higher yields it made possible marked the dawn of a new era in cereal farming, and a century of innovative advances from Bayer.

The birth of a new industry with Ceresan as midwife 

Rarely does a single product give birth to an entire industry. Ceresan did. This organic dry seed treatment for cereals set standards in efficacy for half a century from 1929. Despite its relatively low mercury content, Ceresan provided more effective protection against a broad spectrum of fungal diseases.

Ceresan is no longer on the market but its impact is still felt worldwide because within years of its launch widespread use of Ceresan gave birth to a new line of business: contract seed treatment.

Supporting on-seed performance – the decisive difference

From the first patent obtained for pelleting processes in 1946 to the launch of Peridiam as a global brand, coating developers at Bayer SeedGrowth™ have been at the forefront of innovations to make a good seed even better – through more uniform seed treatment application, improved seed flowability, heightened variety differentiation and visual identification through coloring, enhanced germination, and field emergence properties, and protection for beneficials and operators from dust emissions.

What’s more, growers worldwide can rest assured that Bayer SeedGrowth™ Coatings always fulfill the same high-quality standards.

State-of-the-art equipment for optimized application

Seed treatment equipment has come a long way since Ben Gustafson invented the first mechanical model for dust applications in 1926.

The latest in a long line of innovative advances came in 2012 with the launch of the high-tech On Demand continuous flow drum treating system, specifically designed to make treating seeds easier, more accurate, and more efficient. Not only does  a closed-loop treating system solve the problem of dust emissions, On Demand’s precision also ensures an optimal chemical-to-seed ratio so users get more out of their investment in a valuable seed treatment.

It’s the service that counts when technical issues crop up

Advances in seed treatment have sometimes led to application problems. When wettable powder treatments were launched, for example, ultra-fine active ingredients caused the equipment pumps to leak. The establishment of the first Bayer SeedGrowth™ Center in 1986 enabled valuable support to be given to manufacturers and customers in solving application-related issues.

The experts working at the ten Bayer SeedGrowth™ Centers worldwide develop customer-specific application technologies, collaborate with equipment manufacturers to develop or enhance seed treatment technologies, test new formulations, introduce new test methods, and support farmers and seed treaters in technical and stewardship issues.

Game-changing product innovations in the past, present, and future  

Over the past century, smart Bayer scientists have repeatedly discovered new classes of chemistry to enhance seed treatment efficacy and avoid the risk of diseases becoming resistant to over-used active ingredients.

In recent decades, three discoveries have been particularly significant: Imidacloprid, a real game-changer in seed-applied insecticides; Clothianidin, another neonicotinoid game-changer, the first seed treatment to provide high efficacy control of corn root worm, as well as providing outstanding early-season protection against sucking and biting pests; and innovative active ingredients from the azole class of chemicals.

As Bayer continues to invest heavily in research, the seed treatment value chain will continue to benefit from product innovations for years to come.



The first effective seed treatment for controlling fungal pathogens in cereals.

Golden fields of wheat wafting in the breeze, large ears ripe for harvesting: the dream of every cereal farmer in mid to late summer. But for many centuries the reality was very different: whole fields would turn black, as if burnt by fire.more


Midwife to a brand-new industry

Rarely does a single product give birth to an entire industry. But that is what Ceresan can claim to have done.more

Seed treatment equipment

Innovation in practice since 1926

There is only one crop protection company in the world that makes both seed treatment products and equipment – Bayer.more


A genuine game-changer

When scientists working at Bayer’s Japanese crop protection research center discovered a new active ingredient in 1985, they could hardly have guessed that it would revolutionize insecticidal seed treatment.more