Recommendations to avoid dust generation at planting

Biting the dust
Jennifer Paige
March 13, 2018
As Canada’s crop fields begin to fade from winter and spring begins to emerge, farmers across the country will soon be getting back into their fields, eager for the coming growing season.

With seeding just around the corner, my inbox has once again been filled with numerous headlines surrounding seeding, environmental safety and seed treatments.

And while no producer denies the importance of seed treatments in modern-day agriculture, they have become a topic of discussion on a global scale. Health Canada has implemented legislation to govern the sale and use of certain treated seeds, and across the globe there have been full bans related to pesticide drift.

In the article “Limiting seed treatment chemical escapes,” University of Guelph researcher Art Schaafsma says local legislation isn’t doing enough to solve the problem of seed treatment pesticide drift, and the focus should be more on limiting drift as opposed to restricting the use of this technology. “Legislation would not be necessary at all if farmers and equipment manufacturers made basic adjustments to planters,” Schaafsma says.

The Guide to Treated Seed Stewardship, created and published by the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association and the Canadian Seed Trade Association, provides a number of additional recommendations for producers looking to avoid dust generations at planting:
  • Consider choosing seed coated with a finishing polymer to bind seed treatments to the seed, to further reduce dust.
  • Handle seed bags with care during transport, loading and unloading in order to reduce
  • abrasion, dust generation and spillage.
  • Do not load or clean planting equipment near bee colonies or pollinator foraging areas.
  • Pour seeds carefully and do not shake dust or loose material from the bottom of the seed bag.
  • When turning on the planter, avoid engaging the system near bee colonies or foraging areas.
  • Use deflector equipment, where appropriate, to direct exhaust to ground level and reduce the off field movement of seed dust.
  • Clean and maintain planting equipment. Use a vacuum to remove seed and dust from the planter, including the fan housing and hopper. Do not use compressed air.
As the industry continues to strengthen the science behind its tools, including seed treatments, Top Crop Manager will be here to provide our readers with the latest research and scientific findings, as well as a number of tips and reminders to ensure the best outcomes.

Wishing you all a prosperous start to the growing season!

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