Seed Treatment Stewardship

Planting seed treated with an insecticide or fungicide gives the plant a fighting chance by safeguarding against disease, which then optimizes yields. However, it’s critical that farmers follow handling instructions on the seed bag label to avoid environmentally-sensitive exposure to the chemicals.

Shawn Potter is the head of seed treatment for Syngenta.  He says treated seed can generate dust, so use a seed lubricant of some kind to help minimize dust. The second thing is to be mindful of bees and pollinators.

"So, if you’re out planting in the spring and you see plants flowering nearby, please just kind of mow them down because that’s the pollinator’s habitat and where you might have some issues or challenges if something does move," says Potter. "The third thing they should really think about is if they’ve got any beehives in or around the area. If you are planting with seed treatments in that area and there are beehives around, please just let the beekeeper know, and they can take protective action against it."

Dispose of seed that’s not used, and don’t leave any lying on top of the ground.

"Sometimes, unfortunately when you pull the planter out of the ground or you’re filling the planter up, you might have some spills," he says. "Guys get busy, they’re always running, what’s really important is that if you do spill stuff on the ground, to make sure that you take soil, you cover that seed back up so that wild animals, birds, or other animals don’t come pick that up and digest it and have issues with it later on."

There are several ways to dispose of unused seed. Check the status of each active ingredient in the seed treatment and its waste classification status to determine the right action to take.