New Seed Treating Standards: What Do They Mean for Treating Seed On-Farm?

New standards for storing and applying seed treatments are set to take effect across Canada in 2017.

The new audit-based accreditation system was developed by CropLife Canada and its members “to provide uniform environmental, health and safety practices” at facilities where seed treatments are applied. If a business does not go through the accreditation process, it will lose access to designated seed treatment products.

So what does this mean for seed treatments applied on farms? How will it impact local seed retailers? Some farmers have expressed concerns that the new rules will limit their agronomic options.

Treated canola seed
Treated canola seed

In the interview below, Russel Hurst, executive director for stewardship and sustainability with CropLife Canada, says the new standards are not targeting seed treatments that are applied at the farm level.

“These are aimed for the commercial segment of the industry. They’re not aimed at the on-farm aspect of the seed treatment industry,” he explains.

The company that registers a seed treatment product will decide whether it’s included on the designated list. Starting in 2017, only accredited seed treatment operators, who meet the 76 requirements in the audit process, will be allowed to receive products on this list.

“Essentially we’re saying designated seed treatment products that we envision being viewed in a commercial nature, so products used by seed companies, ag retailers, seed growers, etc, — we envision particular products entering that designated list,” says Hurst. “Any seed treatment products that are being used at the farm level would be outside the scope of what we’re looking to implement in terms of these standards.”

It’s not yet known which products will require accreditation. Hurst says they hope to have a preliminary list made public in the next month or two.

“We’re aiming to come out prior to the end of this year with a list of these products,” he notes. “Ultimately this list will expand as each registrant adds products that they would like to see used through the designated seed treatment process.”

More information on the new seed treatment standards can be found on the Agrichemical Warehousing Standards Association website.

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