In changing climate times and uncertain economic conditions, it is important for farmers to succeed in producing high-yield crops to feed the world’s population. But, conditions are becoming more challenging and each year multiple farmers give up and quit farming. How can the remaining farmers survive and prosper? They need to find better farming methods and better ways to increase yields and protect farm crops from weeds, insects, disease, and weather conditions.
1. Treating Seeds Before They are Planted
When farmers plant seed crops this spring, they will most likely be planting treated seeds. The most common treatments are some type of pesticide. The seeds can be purchased that have already been treated at a cost, or the farmer can purchase untreated seed and then purchase the seed treating system from companies such as My Yield and save money.
The farmer who treats their own seed has more control over the chemicals used and how safe they are. The farmer invests in the correct equipment and chemical treating system and then saves money by buying less-expensive untreated seed and treating it themselves. The chemical supplier has choices of chemicals to use depending on what the farmer needs to protect his seeds and crops in his geographic area.
The farmer must know how to safely deal with chemicals and follow directions very carefully wearing protective gear and using safe equipment and methods.
Why use seed treatments? Well, seed treatments are meant to protect crops and increase total yield. They do this by eliminating or reducing disease development of seed-borne fungi in the seeds without hurting the seed’s germination capability or viability. Seed treatments consist of a coating that limits the growth of competing microflora like weeds and prevents pathogens and pests from damaging the seeds. The treatments can also increase the moisture level in seeds and make them germinate more quickly.
2. Seed Treatment Advantages
· Reduction of initial pathogens or inoculums
· Increase in seed vigor
· A more even application of the chemical
· More treatment alternatives in chemicals
· Fewer environmental impacts and side effects. Think of the poison chemicals sprayed on crops by airplanes.
· Activating the seed to improve plant emergence
· The farmer has the choice of combining chemicals in the treatment precisely geared to his crop challenges.
3. Staying Safe While Treating or Working With Treated Seed
Farmers who are treating their own seed or planting the seed that has been treated need to follow the printed safety instructions printed on the chemical containers or the seed bags. Some PPE required for safe seed-handling includes:
· Chemical-resistant gloves. Leather or cloth gloves are not chemically resistant.
· Long sleeve shirt and long pants. Shoes and socks.
· Consider wearing face masks or other protective gear to avoid breathing in chemicals from treated seeds.
4. Protect Other Lifeforms
Valuable insects such as honey bees and other pollinators can be poisoned by treated seed improperly disposed of. It is important to safely dispose of unused seeds and chemicals. Birds and other small mammals can also be poisoned by surface seeds that have been treated. Seed or chemical spills can also leach into nearby water and kill fish. Proper clean-up of spills is essential. Planting extra seeds on fallow land may be an acceptable solution.
So, using treated seeds has many advantages for the modern farmer. The safety of the farmer and the environment depends on using safe farming practices.