Maintaining quality after harvest

KEEP TREATED SEED FROM CONTAMINATING THIS YEAR’S HARVEST

Click here for the complete checklist of standard and enhanced management practices to prevent seed contamination.

harvest on the farm is undoubtedly a busy time. Long hours in the combine and anxious hours spent analyzing weather and market forecasts can make for an exhausting season. Just one part of this demanding season is managing the quality of the crop after it comes out of the field.

Farmers manage quality all throughout the growing season and this management doesn’t stop at harvest. When the crops come off the field, this quality must be maintained and part of this is avoiding contamination of the crop with treated seed.

Last year, Grain Farmers of Ontario partnered with the Canadian Seed Trade Association and the Ontario Agri Business Association to development a check list that outlines standard and enhanced protocols that farmers should use to ensure that they don’t contaminate grain, oilseed and pulses with treated seed.

Elevators maintain a strict zero tolerance policy for treated seed contamination and following these tips, farmers can protect themselves from the potential losses associated with violating this policy.

  • Use equipment that reduces the likelihood of residual seeds, such as straight sided one piece wagons with minimal pinch points or cross braces on which seed may hide. Ensure cleaning is not too difficult a task for that given piece.
  • Dedicate certain pieces of equipment, whether wagons or otherwise, strictly to the handling of treated seed, and ensure all those who may encounter such equipment are clearly informed of its purpose.
  • Ensure the cleaning process is thorough. This means applying a number of tactics to root out and remove any dissenting seeds, such as blowing out tube piping with compressed air, or pressure washing and sweeping all surfaces that contacted the treated product.
  • Make certain the auger(s) used are flushed and cleaned using whatever material is best suited to the removal of that particular treat variety. However, the best solution would be to have one auger dedicated solely to the handling of treated seed.
  • Keep a written record of when and what equipment is utilized in the process, and perhaps even consider documenting the clean-up procedure.
  • Ensure trucks used for delivery by third parties are free of contamination. Having documentation of the last three crops the truck has transported signed by the driver provides extra protection and assurance for the farmer.

Farmers are responsible for keeping their crop contaminant free and following the steps listed above will help to avoid the liability associated with delivering contaminated grain. Farmers should also be aware that this liability may not be limited to the grain they deliver, it may also include any additional grain in storage contaminated by this delivery at the elevator or processor.