Integrity of certified seed relies on clean machines

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With planting season just around the corner and more growers relying on seed treatments to provide disease and insect protection, application specialists advise frequent cleaning of seed-treating equipment to maintain the integrity of certified seed.

“Equipment used to treat or handle seed needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid contamination, from both a chemical and a genetic purity standpoint,” said Mike Burbach, application specialist, Syngenta. “It will maintain the integrity of the certified seed when you’re switching between varieties or crops.”

With seed-treating equipment, Burbach suggested flushing out all the lines and removing any chemical residues from the equipment when switching between chemicals. The active ingredients may not be registered on different crops, and exporting issues also can arise, Burbach said.

Regular cleaning can actually be an important timesaver, too. “Cleaning after use is more efficient than waiting until next season—that almost quadruples the amount of clean-up time once everything has settled in,” said Glenn Sander, service manager, USC, a seed-treatment equipment manufacturer. “Once the chemical dries, you’re not just washing, you’re scraping.” He recommended cleaning after each treatment with hot, soapy water.

Cleaning equipment is part of basic maintenance but will also help the equipment uphold its long-term performance. “Well-maintained equipment performs to intended specifications and will give you years of service,” Sander said. “You’ll have a more professional-looking operation with more professional-looking tools.”

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