July 10, 2015

Weather Conditions Prompt Reminder for Proper Disposal, Storage of Treated Seed

This year’s weather has proved troublesome for many of Missouri’s producers. According to the latest USDA Crop Progress Report, corn planting reached 97 percent complete, compared to 100 percent last year and 100 percent for the 5-year average, and soybean planting progressed to 73 percent complete, compared to 94 percent for the previous year and 94 percent for the 5-year average. 

"A wet spring and summer has impeded planting for many Missouri farmers and some of the seed our producers intended to plant may not make it into the ground,” said Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce. “We anticipate that there may be treated seed left over after planting wraps up. It is of utmost importance that this seed is stored or disposed of appropriately and does not enter the commodity stream.”

In order to control early season diseases and insects, producers often apply fungicides and insecticides to seed they intend to plant. However, if that treated seed does not end up being planted, there are several options for proper storage or disposal. 

Research has shown that, though difficult, leftover treated seed can be safely stored for future planting if they are kept in controlled conditions of either cold (51±1ï�°F and 60±7% relative humidity) or warm storage (78±1.5ï�°F and 31±11% relative humidity).

“Soybean seed storage is not easy,” said Dr. Bill Wiebold, University of Missouri Division of Plant Sciences. “Cold storage is better than warm, but even with the best of circumstances loss of vigor is likely. Seed kept until next year should have a vigor test, not just a warm germ test.”

If climate controlled storage is not an option, leftover treated seed should be planted on fallow ground or on an unused parcel of land. An acceptable seeding rate should be used so that the maximum rate per acre of the pesticide(s) is not exceeded and seed should be planted at a proper depth. Seeding for wildlife habitat is also a possibility when allowed on the seed bag label. 

Other potential options include disposal in an approved municipal landfill, use as a fuel source for a power plant or kiln, or incineration by a waste management facility.

Treated seed should never be utilized for animal feed. Treated seed should never be composted or burned in a stove that is used in the home, farm shop, etc.

For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at agriculture.mo.gov.