Don't Dump Your Leftovers

November 12, 2011 09:59 AM

That half bag of seed has been sitting there since planting season. Maybe you saved it to fill in a wet hole, or maybe it’s just what was left in the planter. Whatever the reason, farmers are being asked to please take care when disposing of leftover seed.

Andy LaVigne, president and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association, is reminding farmers that it is illegal to introduce treated seeds into the commodity grain supply. He encourages growers to contact their seed company regarding leftover seed and discuss the company’s policy regarding proper disposal.

The purpose behind the educational campaign is to ensure that treated seeds do not enter the grain and oilseed supply, says Gary Martin, North American Export Grain Association. "The safety and integrity of the U.S. grain supply is something farmers and grain handlers should be proud of and committed to maintain," Martin says. "Export customers are particularly sensitive to this issue."

Tom Burrus of Burrus Hybrids, Arenzville, Ill., thinks most growers are aware that treated seed needs to be disposed of properly. "We don’t know of any growers dumping treated seed, but it is important to keep pushing the message that it shouldn’t be done," he says.

Burrus notes that from a seed company perspective, treated soybean seed is a bit more challenging. "We do not carry over soybean seed to next year because the germination rate drops," he says.

"Treated beans have become much more popular over recent years because they provide 2.5 bu. to 3.5 bu. per acre additional yield and can be planted at a lower seeding rate than untreated," Burrus says. "That gives us the potential for a few more leftovers.

"We recommend that growers buy 90% treated beans with a ‘no return’ policy attached to them and finish out the planting with a 10% untreated, but returnable, soybean," he says.

North Carolina State University seed specialist Jan Spears says the best way to dispose of small quantities of leftover seed is to plant them. Keep in mind that treated seed might be hazardous to wildlife and should be planted according to seed bag instructions. 

For more information on the proper way to dispose of treated seed, go to

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