Be a good steward: How to properly handle treated seed

Seed treatment technologies have become a routine part of planting season, boosting farmers with greater yields, healthier crops and higher revenues than ever.

The widely used practice doesn’t come without a warning. In fact, the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA), together with the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Grain Standards Act, have zero tolerance for treated seed in grain.

Precautions are imperative to reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to non-target organisms and keep treated seeds from entering the supply of U.S. grains and oilseeds.

Proper Handling Measures

  • Following directions on treated seed container labeling for handling, storage, planting and disposal practices
  • Being aware of wind direction and speed
  • Knowledge of the presence of foraging pollinators, hive locations, flowering habits and aquatic habitats


How can you safely store treated seed? Treated seed should be protected from direct sunlight, extreme heat and moisture. The facility should also be well ventilated. Treated seed should also be kept secure from children, livestock and wildlife.


Growers should always follow instructions on seed treatment tags. Before the seed goes into the ground, always survey for the presence of pollinator hives and flowering crops or weeds, which could attract pollinators.

Cleaning Equipment

Always clean planters and seed boxes away from sensitive environmental areas. Experts also caution against dumping rinse water on soil, surface water, ground water or in septic systems.

Resources for best practices

·      Growing Matters: Sixth Annual BeSure! Stewardship Campaign to Help Protect Pollinators & Other Wildlife During Planting Season

·      The American Seed Trade Association and Crop-Life America “Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship

·     Resources, guides and contacts for waste disposal can be found on EPA’s website here

Growers with questions are encouraged to visit The Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardship, an industry-wide initiative to promote the safe handling and management of treated seed. Endorsed by the American Soybean Association and other ag groups, the guide provides farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for managing treated seed effectively to further minimize the risk of exposure to non-target organisms.

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