With drilling now underway, and many growers having to cover large areas of land in the process, it can be easy to forget about the importance of good drilling practice.
“There can be a bit of complacency,” acknowledges Alice Johnston, Applications & Stewardship Coordinator at Bayer. “It’s such a busy time of year, so it’s understandable that growers might be focusing on other things.
“But drilling is no different to spraying – you’re still handling chemicals, and you still need best practice in order to both protect the operator and prolong the life of the product. In turn, this will help keep the quality of the seed high and ensure establishment.”
With this in mind, Ms Johnston outlines 5 key things to bear in mind when drilling, in order to ensure good practice:
- Make sure treated seed is covered – especially when turning and lifting the drill at the headland, or when passing over dips, as the drill has either stopped moving forward or come slightly higher.
- Clean up spills – fill up the drill on a hard surface, so that spills are easier to clean up. If there is a spill, clean it up as soon as possible, so that it doesn’t come into contact with people or animals.
- Reduce dust – all cereal seed treated with Deter this season will have Bayer’s Perediam Eco sticker applied, which reduces dust by 40%. However, it’s still important to minimise movement of the seed bag, and don’t pour the seed from too great a height.
- Dispose of seed bags – empty bags should not be used again unless to store the same treated seed initially stored in the bag. Otherwise, they need to be collected by a licenced waste contractor.
- Keep yourself safe – wear your Personal Protective Equipment. When you’re picking up treated seeds, you’re picking up chemicals, so wear gloves.
Ms Johnston notes that the whole industry needs to work together to ensure that seed treatment options do not get restricted further:
“We’ve already lost some of the seed treatments in OSR, so we want to keep them in cereals – good stewardship will help do this. These are products that do a great job, but they need to be taken care of and treated with respect. Best practice in drilling is a big part of that.”