Seed World

Using Color to Your Advantage

Clariant’s Agrocer® is helping seed companies find the value of branding their seed products with specific color, making their seeds recognizable and, more importantly, distinguishable in a highly competitive market place.

The Environmental Protection Agency mandates that all seeds treated with a biological or chemical pesticide also be color treated as an identification tool to prevent the potential contamination of food and feed supplies. Beyond that mandate, the addition of color within a product line allows a farmer to easily distinguish between hybrid lines and varieties. Agrocer® takes color application a step further, allowing companies to think about color in terms of marketing, leveraging the qualities of their seeds through color brand recognition.

As a Market Segment Manager for Clariant’s Agrocer®, Mark Self, has shared with customers how the value of color far exceeds mere identification and regulation, helping them to discover the branding potential color can bring to their line of products. “I ask customers, “Why don’t you use color to your advantage? Highlight a certain trademark with a designated color and capitalize on the opportunity to have a product recognizable at a glance,” says Self. “Farmers recognize colors and come to associate a product’s quality and attributes with a specific shade of color and know right away that the product has the traits they want.”

In the past, the basic palette for seed colorants consisted of red, blue, green and violet. When Agrocer® gained EPA approval in 2016 for pigments Yellow 1 and Red 112, new colorant options were brought to the table for U.S. companies, allowing Clariant to create any color shade using the range of Agrocer® colorants. The introduction of the yellow and globally accepted red pigment completed the color palette, allowing Agrocer® customers to choose any color with the safeguard of knowing their products could still be marketed internationally.

“Being a color company and a leader in paint and coatings, Clariant has experience with products that are meant to be blended. Our expertise in custom color blending allowed us to ask: “What if you took a blue and a yellow and made turquoise? Or Agrocer® Red 112 and Agrocer® Yellow 001 to make an orange.  Your seed product could be unique while everyone else’s seeds were just the standard palette,” says Self.

Because all seed coatings have some element of water in them, all Agrocer® colorant dispersions are water-based; however, the company also offers a dry-based line that can be dispersed and applied directly into the formulation. Both wet and dry colorants provide a customer the option to blend the dispersions themselves or purchase a custom Agrocer® blend.

Agrocer® products are formulated with a high pigment load.  This allows the formulator more room to add active ingredients instead of additional lower strength colorant.

“Typically, most colorant products are in 20% [pigment load] range, but Agrocer® tries to make each formulation the highest pigment load possible. We want a customer to be able to use less colorant and still have excellent coverage,” says Self. “If you do a weight for weight analysis, Agrocer® products can be much less than traditional colorants because a customer is using less product.”