Seed dust off used to be an overlooked issue in the agricultural world. But, over the past decade, discussion of its impacts on farmers— along with other factors related to agriculture— have been brought to the table to sprout solutions and fresh new technologies. These technologies are for the advancement of everything related to row crop production: all the way from seed, to harvest, to profit.
Here are some of the effects of seed dust off – and how seed coating can help farmers grow more prolifically, profitably, and successfully.
What is seed dust off – and how it happens
Seed dust off (or dust-off) happens when particulate matter crumbles and separates off commercial agricultural seed. This can happen due to agitation during planting, storage, or transport, though sometimes it just happens naturally in storage as seeds age. This residue can then build up in seed storage or with movement through planting equipment and lead to a variety of issues.
Seed dust off can happen with both treated and untreated seed. In both categories, dust off impacts the viability and success of individual seeds, thus having negative effects on farmers’ bottom line— among other things. The “dust-off” effect is considered the most problematic and harmful during the planting or sowing process, when the dust “buildup” at the bottom of agricultural equipment leads to unnatural “clouding” of seed matter or chemicals that isn’t good for farmers, farm workers, and the surrounding environment to be exposed to.
How seed dust off impacts your bottom line (and other things)
Ultimately, seed dust off is of course less than ideal for untreated seeds. In untreated seed, loss of particulate matter from seed due to agitation, transport, or storage methods can damage the success of your crop through the impaired future viability and germination success rates of that seed. It’s also never a good thing if parts of a product you buy are crumbling and falling away: it’s the same as watching dollar bills fly away in the wind.
In treated seed, dust off means using inefficient methods of protective or amplifying coating. These coating methods should be designed to raise yield success, germination rates, and strengthen seedling vigor. In both cases (treated and untreated seed dust off) it’s a long-term financial loss to the farmer’s pocketbook. This is where seed coatings and films come in.
How seed coating technology can help with seed dust off
Both treated and untreated seed value can be greatly enhanced for farmers with help from seed coatings and films. In addition to bringing other benefits to agricultural seed such as increased germination rates, higher nutrient availability, and disease protection, many seed coatings can include materials and polymers that help bind seeds— and seeds and their treatments— together more cohesively to reduce or eliminate any possibility of dust off.
These coatings or films can be incredibly thin— even translucent, and not always noticeable or visible to farmers upon first purchase of their seed. But, all the same, these materials can act like protectors or binders that keep in the important treatments and materials close to the seed, while reducing undesired markings and abrasions during handling, transport, shipping, or planting processes.
Additional Measures for preventing seed dust off
Seed dust off is a difficult thing to stop when it’s already in motion. But there are ways that farmers can anticipate dust off to both prevent and minimize its impacts.
One way farmers can do this is by testing the treated (or untreated) seed they buy with a Huebach Dustmeter: a device that replicates certain contexts leading to dust off such as agitation in transport or planting. Unfortunately, once seed is purchased, you’re stuck with that quality and that dust off rate— and you are only left with not purchasing that brand of seed again in the future if dust off rates are excessive.
Certain choices in agricultural equipment can also have an impact on the effects of seed dust off, though this impact can be limited— while in some industries equipment has been modified to help reduce the amount of dust off and its effects. However, the industry has started to embrace one of the most effective and innovative approaches to reducing seed dust off and its effects: with the uses of seed film coatings and other types of seed coating technology.
Connect with Us
Summit Seed is a proud carrier of many of the latest seed coating technologies designed to enhance farmers’ profits: both by means of reducing seed dust off along with other notable seed technology benefits. Get in touch with us today to learn more about seed coatings and films, their role in reducing dust off, and with any other questions you may have about our latest technologies!