Better Environment, Better Product

- Ketty Nilsson

Competition in the seed market is tough and you do everything you can to produce the best quality seed to meet your customer’s needs. It might not be front and center in your strategy, but much of your success hinges on the people you hire.

This is particularly true of the seed treatment operator as he or she is coating the final product and that’s something farmers can visually see. It can also directly impact planting — for better or worse. Couple that with the fact that formulations are getting increasingly complex as more is being added to the seed. A lot depends on your operator.

Years ago, your seed treatment operator was the loyal employee who grew up in your company and knew a good quality application just by looking at the seed. Today, people shift jobs more often, and more and more companies hire seasonal workers.

This means you need equipment that is safe and easy to operate, calibrate and service. Operators should be able to easily check the dosing rates, and data collection should be streamlined. Basically, you need equipment that’s going to do a quality job, even with employees who have little prior knowledge.

The other factor to consider is if you are hiring seasonal help, or anyone for that matter, you want them to say good things about your company and your product. It’s important that they feel comfortable operating the equipment and that cleanouts are not messy or labor intensive.

Cleaning a seed treater is not a sweet task to begin with. You are handling toxic chemicals and it can be time consuming. It’s in the best interest of your company and your operator to have equipment that is easy to clean. This not only saves your team time and money, it’s also more likely that the task will be done. Cleaning your seed treatment equipment helps improve the quality of treatment and extends the life of your equipment.

The last piece that I’m going to focus on here is dust. This is an especially hot topic in Europe. We know that dust can be an issue for pollinators; it can also affect the health of your operators or those working around the equipment. Make sure you have sufficient aspiration. This improves that application quality of the seed treatment and improves the environment at your seed plant.

If we take good care of our seed treatment operators, they will take better care of the seed treatment. They will see to it that your investment stays on the seed. To deliver top quality product, you need more than top quality seed treatment equipment. You need devoted and engaged operators. I encourage you to look at how you can improve the work environment for your employees.

Branding your business has never been more important, and let’s face it, an attractive workplace is the best public relations.