Section 2: Environmental Stewardship

Summary: Environmental stewardship involves the management of treated seeds after they leave the seed treatment facility to minimize the risk of exposure to non-target organisms. This includes educational efforts to help ensure that users understand the importance of their activities in protecting the environment. It is essential to educate those who handle, transport and plant the seed to help ensure that seed treatment solutions result in success for everyone involved and to help minimize the potential for adverse effects on the environment. Sensitive environmental factors to be aware of include, but are not limited to, pollinators, pollinator hive locations, flowering habitats including weeds and other plants at field edges, aquatic habitats (e.g., streams/ponds/rivers), wind direction, etc.

  1. Environmental Stewardship
    1. Storage of Seed Treatment Components and Treated Seed
      1. The Storage Facility must:
        1. Have sufficient lighting and ventilation;
        2. Meet all applicable regulatory requirements;
        3. Keep seed and components dry and secure, out of the reach of children, animals, and unauthorized persons; and
        4. Shield seed and components from sunlight and extreme temperatures.
      2. Check local and/or state regulations for specific rules regarding storage facility requirements.
    2. Handling and Transport of Treated Seed
      1. Ensure that proper label is attached to treated seed container/packaging.
      2. Avoid undue abrasion and other mechanical damage to treated seed.
      3. Protect treated seed from heat and moisture. Shield seed and components from sunlight and extreme temperatures
      4. Take precautions to avoid spillage.
    3. Planter Equipment
      1. Direct planter exhaust downward towards the soil surface, where possible.
      2. Always plant at the recommended seeding rate.
      3. Calibrate planting equipment properly.
      4. Always clean and maintain equipment properly.
    4. Dust Reduction
      1. Consider environmental factors, such as wind speed and direction, when opening seed containers, and during filling or emptying of the planting machine.
      2. Follow planter manufacturer recommendations for use of seed flow lubricants (such as talc or graphite), and avoid excessive use.
      3. Avoid shaking the bottom of the treated seed bag when filling planter. This reduces release of dust that could have accumulated during transport.
    5. Planter Equipment Loading
      1. The planter should be filled at least 10 yards inside the field to be planted, avoiding proximity to apiaries, hedges, or flowering crops or weeds.
      2. When opening seed bags or when filling and emptying the planter, position your back to the wind and avoid breathing released dust.
    6. Planting Depth
      1. Follow planting depth instructions, if found on the seed tag, to protect birds, mammals and the environment.
      2. At row ends and field corners, if indicated on the seed tag, incorporate treated seeds at suggested planting depth.
      3. Cover all treated seeds in the field by incorporating into the soil at proper planting depth, in particular at row ends and field corners.
    7. Disposal of Empty Treated Seed Containers-Dispose of seed packaging and/or containers in accordance with local requirements and container return policies.
    8. Spills of Treated Seed
      1. If spills occur, treated seed should be securely covered or collected as soon as possible to prevent exposure to humans, animals or the environment.
      2. Once treated seed is collected, choose an appropriate disposal option. See ‘Disposal of Unused Treated Seed’ section for disposal options.
    9. Disposal of Unused Treated Seed
      1. Small amounts of leftover treated seed may be double planted within a portion of the field at an agronomically acceptable seeding rate.
      2. Return leftover treated seed to its original seed lot containers, if treated seed is intended for storage and use at a later date.
      3. If the treated seed no longer has acceptable germination or has been damaged, and if regulations and the treated seed label allow, possible options, include:
        1. Fermentation in an authorized alcohol-production plant (mash or distillers grains must not be used as food or feed);
        2. Use as a fuel source for power plants or cement kilns;
        3. Incineration by a waste management facility; and
        4. Seeding to serve as wildlife habitat.
    10. Disposal of Rinse Water from Seed Treatment Equipment
      1. Do not discharge rinse water to ground, surface water or septic systems.
      2. Minimize rinse water – wash out equipment only when necessary.
      3. Re-use rinse water if possible to dilute the next batch of formulation. Be aware of the potential for cross contamination if the new formulation contains different active ingredients. Factor in the potential for increased concentration of active ingredient, if significant amounts of rinse water are used.
      4. If possible, and will not result in an applied concentration above the label recommendation, re-apply excess rinse water as a pesticide application to a field site for which the active ingredient is registered.
    11. Emergency Planning
      1. Have an emergency preparedness plan for unintended exposures, spills, or accidents.
      2. Have any relevant emergency contact information easily accessible.
      3. In the event of emergency, call the manufacturer’s Product Emergency Number.
  2. Off-Target Exposure
    1. Environmental Factors of Consideration for Using Treated Seed
      1. Drift (wind speed/direction)
        1. Drift is the physical movement of pesticide droplets or particles through the air, from the target site to any non-target site, which could result in Off Target Exposure.
        2. Avoid off-site movement of dust from treated seeds during planting by planning for wind speed and direction.
      2. Pollinators
        1. Consider the presence of managed honeybee hives and flowering crops or weeds in or adjacent to the field which could attract pollinators.
        2. Consider the presence of flowering crops in or adjacent to the field which could attract pollinators. Take appropriate precautions to avoid contaminating them with dust from planting of treated seed.
      3. Waterways
        Do not contaminate water bodies when disposing of planting equipment washwaters.
      4. Spills of treated seed
        1. If spills occur, treated seed should be collected and disposed of properly to prevent exposure to humans or the environment.
        2. Follow directions on treated seed label and/or seed tag.
      5. Planting depths
        1. Follow planting depth instructions, if found on the seed tag, to protect birds, mammals and the environment.
        2. Cover all treated seeds in the field by incorporating into the soil at proper planting depth, in particular at row ends and field corners.
      6. Dust drift
        1. Always use high quality seed, free from excessive dust.
        2. For seed types that require that pesticides be coated onto the seed, use an appropriate coating system that keeps abrasion of the pesticide coating to a minimum.
        3. Avoid releasing dust from seed treatments into the air. When opening seed containers and during filling, emptying, or cleaning of the planting equipment, avoid dust exposure.
        4. To protect birds and mammals, cover all treated seeds in the field by incorporating into the soil at proper planting depth, in particular at row ends and field corners.
        5. Avoid off-site movement of dust from treated seeds during planting. Be aware of wind speed and direction.