Seed super boxes offer convenience over bags for growers who use center-fill planters. But if super boxes are handled improperly, external debris such as wood pieces and gravel can enter the seed box and wreak havoc during planting.

Bruce Due, Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist, offers these five tips to maintain seed quality and worker safety when handling super boxes this spring.

1. Avoid external contamination

Quality control measures at the production facility ensure that seed is clean upon delivery. But the bottom and sides of super boxes contain crevices that can harbor small debris. “Foreign material can loosen and fall into the seed, causing potential problems with the planter,” Due says. “It is important to store seed boxes on clean, hard-surface floors and protect them from contamination at planting time.”

2. Take care in transport

When moving super boxes from storage, do not set them on surfaces containing dirt or gravel — even temporarily. “Inspect and clean the forks of the forklift before lifting boxes,” Due says. “Also, use caution to prevent cracking or chipping the plastic.”

3. Inspect seed boxes before filling

Remove any debris on the outside of the box before dumping seed into the planter. “Stones can get stuck on the lips of the box during storage or while moving from one field to another,” he says.

4. Consider screens

Screens at the top of the planter can filter out foreign materials. “It’s an additional way to protect your seed,” Due says.

5. Keep safety foremost

Seed boxes are heavy, even when empty. Keep safety top of mind to avoid injury as well as prevent damage to the seed box. Always follow label directions when handling seed.

For more information, download this technical bulletin. More agronomy tips are available