38 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 PROTECTINGPOLLINATORS ThisseriesissponsoredbyOperationPollinator, aSyngentaglobalinitiative. WITH THE 2019 growing season approaching, it’s important to keep seed treatment stewardship top-of-mind, from the beginning of the process at the treatment facility to end of the journey at the field. Seed treatments are generally accepted as a safe, extremely precise way to deliver the necessary protection for seeds and seedlings. But when dealing with herbi- cides and fungicides, stewardship is always important, even when risk is low. “We want to further minimize what is already a small risk,” says Jane DeMarchi, American Seed Trade Association vice president of government and regulatory affairs. Safety is stressed during each phase of handling treated seed, from before the chemicals are applied, to after the seed goes into the ground. “We look at the full continuum, start- ing with preparing the seed and ensuring it is cleaned properly,” DeMarchi says. Preparation Seed retailers need to be educated about benefits, risks and best practices as they make product recommendations. “There is a growing awareness about the condition of the seed as being impor- tant, so we are seeing more companies focus on cleaning the seed to get the best, safest treatment possible,” DeMarchi says. “Farmers also need to prepare for planting by communicating with nearby beekeepers about local hives.” When farmers are choosing treated seed or non-treated seed, they need to be prepared for the responsibility that comes with their investment. Tim Dahl, agronomic service repre- sentative for Syngenta, explains that if a farmer plants 3,000 acres, they could have the cost of a new pickup truck invested in seed treatments. “They aren’t going to buy a new pickup and not take care of it,” Dahl says, adding that they think about seed treatments the same way. “It’s important to protect that investment and make sure it stays on the seed where it can do its job.” Development Sandy Baker, Syngenta Seedcare Application lead for North America, says there have been many improvements in seed treatment formulations to improve safety and efficacy. “It can take up to 15 years to discover and launch a new product, and up to two years for our formulation development team to fine tune a product and optimize it for application,” Baker says. Treated seed safety stays top of mind. Melissa Shipman melissanshipman@gmail.com STEWARDSHIPALONGTHEWAY Syngenta’s Seedcare Institute is able to do extensive testing on samples to check multiple parameters to determine the safest and best way to handle products, reduce exposure and ensure dust-off levels are significantly lower than limits in the European Union allow. Baker says the U.S. does not have an official threshold, which is why they follow the European standard of less than 0.75 grams per 100,000 seeds on corn. Treatment Dahl says the majority of corn gets treated in a production facility while many soybeans get treated downstream. Syngenta provides training programs and safety labels to ensure those han- dling the seed know the safest way to do their job. Advances have also been made on the equipment side, with the use of integrated In the Plantability Lab at the Syngenta Seedcare Institute in Stanton, Minn., seed treatments are tested for flowability and singulation using planters and settings that farmers use in the fields. PHOTO: SYNGENTA.