A rapidly evolving sector of the industry, seed treatments have undergone continuous improvements since their introduction in the 1970s. Today, many of the efforts are focused on reducing dust from treated seeds which is created by abrasion of treated seeds during transportation and sowing.
To prevent dust being released in the environment, strict measures are necessary, and seed companies are continuously seeking new ways to further decrease the amount of dust that comes off the treated seeds. Officials established a link between dust levels measured in the lab on seeds and dust deposition levels next to a sown field. Other countries besides the EU are analysing dust from seeds.
One way to reduce dust-off is to develop recipes that keep the seed treatments on the seed. Our company is very much focused on reducing dust. However, it is clear that when you apply multiple active ingredients, micronutrients, fertilizers and inoculants, the recipes also get more complicated. And it’s really about the total amount of material you’re putting on the seed that can interfere with equipment, particularly during planting.
Another way to help with the dust issue is that we make sure our seed treatment products work with the equipment that farmers use. Farmers use different types of sowing equipment, which will have an impact on sowing treated seeds, and dust-off. Therefore it is necessary that the seed industry makes sure that their solutions are specifically adapted to the farmer’s sowing equipment.
There are several advantages of reducing dust-off, for example, it allows the seed to flow more easily through planters, it minimizes buildup, it increases planting accuracy, and of course reduces dust.
But as one can imagine, this all hinges on the fact that there is an accurate detection method as to how much dust has been released from a seed sample. Until now, most seed companies and government labs have been using the Heubach method. However, with our ever-improving ways to reduce dust, we are now discovering that we are well below the levels where the amount of dust can be accurately estimated. This is in itself of course a very good development, but also places us for the next challenge of how little dust there exactly is in the seed sample. We are working with several stakeholders to improve the Heubach method. The lack of an accurate testing method also has an impact on our other work to reduce dust.
As a company, we are a strong proponent of seed treatment stewardship and our education in this regard includes making sure that our customers understand best practices in handling and applying products, as well as maintaining safety standards for themselves and for the environment.