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Pesticide-treated seeds must be handled properly


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Farmers have to be especially careful if they are planting, storing, or handling pesticide-treated seeds. That’s because the treated seeds cannot be allowed to contaminate this fall’s harvest.

Donna Gilson with Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection says there is absolutely no tolerance.  “If there’s even one grain of the treated seed that shows up in a truckload or a storage bin in the fall, that entire lot is contaminated because the treated seed is of course treated with pesticide, so then that whole lot can’t be used for food for humans or for animals. We have to condemn the entire load, and that is at the farmer’s expense.”

Gilson strongly recommends farmers and others that handle treated seeds thoroughly pressure wash all equipment after handling and planting treated seeds, and then closely inspect that equipment.  “Look for any of those seeds, and they’re real easy to pick out because they’re deliberately dyed in really bright colors so that we can tell them from the regular untreated seeds.”

Gilson says one little seed can cost farmers their entire fall crop worth thousands of dollars. She says the cleaning and inspection of gravity boxes, planters, truck boxes, and storage units is vital.