The use of seed treatment technologies, including neonicotinoid insecticide treatments, is an effective tool to provide the necessary protection of seeds for a strong, healthy start. Farmers select seed treatments after assessing their farmâ€™s risk factors in order to shield the seeds from the insects and diseases that exist in the soil during early developmental stages. This protection ensures that the plant has a greater opportunity to grow a strong root system which is the foundation of a healthy, productive plant. Nearly 100-percent of modern seed varieties, combined with seed treatments, produce a mature plant.
Seed treatments also reduce the environmental impact of the production process by decreasing the number of spray applications of agrichemical products and lessening exposures to non-target species including humans and pollinators. Potential soil surface exposure is reduced by more than 90-percent compared to other application methods such as in-furrow applications or broadcast sprays.
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.
ASTA collaborated on the â€śThe Guide to Seed Treatment Stewardshipâ€ť with CropLife America (CLA). This Guide is the product of industry-wide collaboration between seed companies, seed treatment providers and universities â€“ and it draws from data collected worldwide. Its purpose is to provide farmers and seed companies with critical information and up-to-date guidelines for managing treated seeds effectively to minimize the risk of exposure to non-target organisms.
The health of pollinators, especially honey bees, is crucial to agricultural production in the U.S. and globally. The U.S. seed industry and ASTA play a role in supporting thriving bee populations by promoting stewardship. ASTA is part of the Corn Dust Research Consortium (CDRC) organized by the non-profit Pollinator Partnership (P2) and the Honey Bee Health Coalition. ASTA also supports the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC).).