Seed treatments, such as neonicotinoids, have been used by farmers for many years to help control early season insect pests and ensure a better crop. While seed treatments provide many benefits, their use poses a potential risk to nearby pollinators and other beneficial insects because of seed dust drifting from the site of planting. The seed dust can contain small amounts of insecticide scraped off the treated seeds during transportation, equipment loading and planting of the treated seeds.
A guide to seed treatment and the video below from the American Seed Trade Association provide an overview of seed treatments including technology advancements and simple steps that can be taken during planting to minimize potential effects.
Seed coating agents applied as a part of the seed treatment process can also reduce the seed dust that can be created during transportation and planting. Additionally, planting equipment may have been designed with dust reducing technology or aftermarket deflectors can be installed which also mitigate seed dust release into the air. See the video below to learn more.
The BeSure! initiative from Growing Matters provides numerous resources for farmers in order to use crop protection products safely and responsibly.
Whatever product individual farmers prefer to use to protect crops, agricultural technologies help in improving crop yield while protecting pollinators.