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Ag officials remind farmers to keep treated seeds out of their harvest


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - State ag officials are reminding farmers to be careful how they haul their grains this year and to make sure to keep treated seeds out of their harvest.

Spokeswoman Donna Gilson says these are special seeds that aren't meant for human consumption. "It's seeds that's been treated with an insecticide or a fungicide, something to protect it when it's in the soil from being destroyed before it becomes a plant." If they are found in your harvest or your truck, that entire load will be thrown out and destroyed.

Gilson says it happens more often than you might think. "Every year we get at least one case where a farmer forgets that he or she has used this truck in the spring to haul treated seeds. They put corn or soybeans in it, haul it to the elevator, and wind up with some of the treated seed in the harvest."

Lori Bowman with the Bureau of Agrichemical Management says there cannot be any tolerance on this. "If even one grain of the treated seed shows up in a truckload or storage bin, the entire lot is considered contaminated and cannot be used in food for humans or animals." Seeds treated with insecticides and fungicides are commonly used by farmers to protect seedlings at planting. These seeds are dyed bright colors to differentiate them from untreated seeds.

To prevent losing your harvest, Gilson and the department remind farmers to pressure wash any truck, bin, silo or other equipment that's handled treated seeds for planting before they're used again for anything else. If you're borrowing equipment from someone, make sure they haven't been using for treated seeds.

For more information, you can go to http://datcp.wisconsin.gov and look under "Plants" for information about seeds.