WASHINGTON, O.C.  20460

Acknowledgments    	     1
Preface  	     1
Introduction  	      2
Seeds Commonly Treated 	     2
Seed Pests	     2
Nonchemical Control of Pests	     2
Chemical Control of Pests  	     2
  Seed Treatment Formulations	        2
  Pesticide Labels	      3
  Application  Equipment 	        3
Coloring Treated Seed	     3
Labeling Treated Seed	     4
Safety and Environmental Precautions   ...     4
Appendix     	     5

This guide has been developed by Kansas State Uni-
versity  under  U.S.   Environmental  Protection
Agency (EPA) contract number 68-01-2693. This
contract was issued by the Training Branch, Opera-
tions Division, Office of Pesticide  Programs,  EPA.
The  leader  of this  group  effort  was Frank  G.
Bieberly, Kansas  State University.  Editors were
Mary Ann Wamsley, EPA, and  Donna  M. Ver-
meire,  North Carolina  State University.

Contributors were:
E. L. Poland, E.I. duPont de Nemours & Company,
  Wilmington, Delaware
Dell E. Gates, Kansas State University
Earl D. Hansing, Kansas State University
Claude L. King, Kansas State University
W. H. Lange, University of California
Harold D.  Loden, American Seed Trade  Associa-
   tion, Washington, D.C.
Harvey Lowery, Georgia Crop Improvement Asso-
   ciation, Athens, Georgia
John  J. MacFarlane,  Jr., Gustafson, Inc., Dallas,
Don McGillivray, Funk Seeds International, Bloom-
   ington, Illinois
Foil McLaughlin, North Carolina Crop  Improve-
   ment Association, Raleigh, North Carolina
Glenn D.  Moore, Northrup, King  & Company,
   Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Richard F  Moorer, U.S. Environmental Protection
Earl Olson,  Lynk Brothers and  Baird Company,
   Marshalltown, Iowa
M. L.  (Curt)  Palmer,  Corn States Hybrid Service.
   Inc., Des Moines, Iowa
Otto E. Schultz, Cornell University
Walter Walla, Texas A&M University
Robert T.  Wallace,  Chevron Chemical Company,
   San  Francisco,  California
William G. Willis, Kansas State  University
Federal regulations establish general  and  specific
standards that you must  meet before  you can use
or supervise the use of certain pesticides. Your State
will provide material which you may study  to help
you meet the general standards.

This guide contains basic information to help you
meet the specific standards for applicators who are
engaged in seed treatment pest control. Because the
guide was prepared to cover the entire nation, some
information important to your State  may  not  be
included. The State agency in charge of your train-
ing can provide the  other  materials you  should

This guide will give you information about:
•  types of seeds that may require chemical  protec-
   tion against pests,
«  seed treatment pesticide formulations,
•  seed treatment methods,
•  labeling treated seed, and
•  safety and environmental precautions.


Seed treatment, as defined by the Federal Seed Act,
means: "    given  an application of a substance or
subjected to a process designed to reduce, control, or
repel  disease  organisms, insects,   or other pests
which attack seeds or seedlings growing therefrom."
It includes control of pests while the seed is in stor-
age and after it has been planted.

A person treating seed should know:
• the kinds  of seeds which should be treated, and
• the correct use of seed treatment pesticides.

The kinds of pesticides used vary  according to lo-
cality.  Get specific information  from the local Co-
operative Extension Service or the pesticide manu-
facturer. Registered chemical products are effective
and safe when used as directed.

Match  each seed treatment pesticide with  equip-
ment that can apply it correctly. The manufacturer
can provide you information on  how to use and
maintain the equipment.

 The kinds of seeds usually treated include:
   sorghums and sorghum-Sudan grass hybrids,
   field corn and sweet corn,
   sugar beets,
   peas and beans, and
 Major kinds of seed pests are:
 • fungi and bacteria  (such as seed rots, seedling
   blight, and  smuts of grains),
 • soil insects (such as the seed corn beetle and wire-
   worms), and
 • storage insects (including  weevils,  moths, and


Although most seed protection is done with  chemi-
cals, you  also  should know  about nonchemical
methods, such as:
• development of  plant and  crop  varieties  whose
  seeds are resistant to pests,
• use of low humidity and low temperature in stor-
  age areas to inhibit the  growth of bacteria, mold,
  and  mildew, and to slow the growth of  insect
  pests, and
• use of good sanitation practices (such as remov-
  ing waste seed and seed  particles from the storage
  area) to reduce food and shelter for pests.



There are three types  of chemical control for seed
diseases and insects:
• Seed surface disinfestation—complete covering of
  the  seed with a pesticide which kills spores and
  other disease agents  on  the surface of the seed.
• Seed protection—applying a pesticide to the seed
  to protect the seed and young seedling from dis-
  ease  agents or insects in the soil or in storage.
• Systemic  treatment—applying  a  pesticide which
  penetrates the seed and/or extends into the plant
  as it  grows. It repels or kills certain types of fungi
  or insects, or keeps them from causing damage.


ACTIVE  INGREDIENTS—The  label lists  the
names  of all  active ingredients  and tells what per-
cent of the  formulation each makes up.

INERT INGREDIENTS—Seed treatment pesticide
formulations often  contain carriers,  binders,  wetting
agents,  emulsifiers, suspending agents,  and  dyes.
These  materials are inert  ingredients, which  do not
have to be  listed individually on the label. They are
added  to the formulation to:
« improve  appearance,
8 increase  coverage,
• increase  adherence,
• prevent dusting-off,  and
 • provide hazard recognition.

They have little or no effect on seed germination.

Active Ingredient:
Inert Ingredients:
Chemical Name      80%
Wetting Agent        3%
Dyes                 2%
Suspending Agents    3%
Carriers              6%
Stickers              2%
Oils                  4%
COMPATIBILITY—Most seed treatment pesticides
are compatible when mixed  together.  Consult  the
pesticide label  or the pesticide manufacturer  for
compatibility  information.  To test compatibility,
make a small slurry mixture of the  materials in the
correct ratio before starting the actual  mixing.

Check compatibility  information before applying  a
pesticide to  inoculated seed.


Before using any  seed treatment pesticide,  read  and
analyze the information on the label. The label con-
tains detailed information about:
•  active ingredients,
•  safety precautions,
•  antidotes,
•  type of seed the pesticide can be used on,
•  application rate,
•  pests the product will control, and
•  care in handling and use of treated seed.


Commercial seed  treaters are designed  to apply ac-
curately measured quantities of pesticides to a given
weight or volume of seed. Too much of a pesticide
may injure  seed, and too  little is often not  effective,

To perform  accurately, a seed treater:
•  must be  adjusted correctly at all  times,  and
•  must be given continuous preventive maintenance.

Check often during use to see that the amount of
formulation  that has been used is in  the correct pro-
portion to the  amount of  seed that has been treated.

There are  three  basic types  of  commercial  seed
LIQUID TREATERS—for all formulations not re-
quiring agitation during application.

•  no agitation needed,
•  pesticide can be  pumped  directly from pesticide
   container into equipment,
e  machines require less space than other types,
•  give good seed penetration.

•  limited to liquid pesticide formulations,
•  useful mainly on  cottonseed and small grains,
•  require  a fume collection system.

SLURRY  TREATERS—for formulations requiring
agitation during application.

•  can be used to treat many seed types and varieties,
•  give good coverage and are accurate,
•  are economical.

•  pesticides used  need vigorous and continuous  agi-
•  require  a dust and/or fume collection system,
•  limited  to wettable powders or emulsifiable  con-

DUST TREATERS—for dry formulations.
•  add no moisture to the seed,
•  easy to clean and operate.

•  limited to dust formulations,
•  sometimes inaccurate,
•  dust drifts easily.

The  operator's manual supplied by the manufacturer
will guide  you in the correct use and maintenance of
the equipment.


Food and  Drug Administration  regulations  require
that  all food grain seeds treated with seed treatment
pesticide formulations be dyed to prevent their use
as food or feed.

Most seed treatment pesticides for in-plant use come
from the manufacturer  with the color added. Color-
ing  is not required for planter-box formulations.
Some seed processors prefer to add  more dye to get

the color they want. Dyes approved for this purpose
have little or no effect on seed germination and pre-
sent  little or no danger to people who  process or
use the seed.


The  Federal Seed Act  regulates the  labeling of
treated seed.  (See  Appendix.) The following  infor-
mation, in type no smaller than 8  points, is required
on treated.seed containers:
•  A statement indicating that  the  seed has been
•  Name of the seed treatment pesticide used—either
   the common name, chemical (generic) name, or
   abbreviated  chemical  name.
•  Seed treated with highly toxic substances requires
   a  label bearing a skull and crossbones and a pre-
   cautionary statement,  such as "This Seed Treated
   With Poison." The skull and crossbones must be
   at least twice the size  of the  type on the  label.
   The precautionary statement must be in red  letters
   on a contrasting background.
             Treatment Used: Phorate
   Federal Seed Act regulations contain a list of the
   substances considered highly toxic.
   Seed  treated with most  substances not on the
   highly toxic substances list  requires a label with
   an  appropriate  precautionary  statement, such as
   "Do not use  for food, feed, or oil  purposes."
           This Seed Treated With Captan
           Do not use for food, feed or oil
   Federal Seed  Act regulations  list  the treatment
   substances  and rates of occurrence for which no
   warning statement is necessary.

 This information  may appear on a separate  tag or
 seed analysis tag,  or it may be printed conspicuously
 on the side or top of the seed container. These are
minimum  labeling  requirements.  Some seed treat-
ment pesticide labeling recommends  additional  in-
formation that should be  added to the label on  the
treated seed. You also should  check  for your own
State's requirements for these treated seed container



Some suggested precautions for seed treatment  in-
• The seed treatment area should have an approved
  exhaust  and dust-collecting  system  to  remove
  toxic vapors and dust. Do not allow pesticide dust
  or fumes  to reach  unprotected  employees or to
  reach commodities to be used for food, feed, or
  oil purposes.
• To avoid contaminating seed  with an incorrect
  pesticide,  the  seed treating  equipment must  be
  throughly cleaned before the treating process  be-
  gins. Consult the pesticide  manufacturer  for  the
  names of cleansers and  directions for their use.
• Do not  run water containing  pesticides into a
  stream or public sewer. Handle it  as you would
  an  excess pesticide. Check  with local authorities
  when you have large amounts of such waste water.
• Dispose of empty treated seed containers and  un-
  used treated seed as you would excess pesticides.
  Contact the Board of  Health or other local  au-
  thority for requirements and  disposal areas.
• Special tightly  woven  bags,  or polyethylene or
  foil-lined  bags,  are  recommended  for  seed that
  have  been treated with some highly toxic  pesti-
• Handle treated  seed in accordance with  instruc-
  tions on the label of the pesticide that was applied
  to the seed.
• Store treated seed in labeled  containers away from
  unprotected persons and food or feed products.
  Treated seed must never be  mixed with food  and
  feed products.
• Provide customers with copies of pertinent label-
  ing information  for the pesticide applied.

The  production  of organo  mercurial pesticides for
seed  treatment was prohibited by EPA on February
17, 1976. However, stocks formulated prior to that
date  may be sold and used until exhausted. Further
action by EPA and other interested parties is to be

The  following is excerpted from  the Federal  Seed
Act  (Title 7, Ch. I, Part 201 of the Code of Federal
Regulations), for specific information about  label-
ing of treated seed.


  201.31a  Labeling treated seed.— (a)  Contents
of label.—Any  agricultural seed  or  any mixture
thereof  or any vegetable seed or any mixture there-
of, for seedling purposes, that has  been treated shall
be labeled in type no smaller than 8 points to indi-
cate  that the seed has been  treated and to show the
name of any substance  or a  description  of any
process  (other than application of  a substance) used
in such  treatment, in accordance  with this section;
for example,
  Treated with   	
                  (Name of substance or process)
or 	 treated.
         (Name  of substance or process)
If the  substance used  in  such  treatment  in the
amount remaining with the seed  is harmful  to hu-
mans or other  vertebrate  animals, the seed  shall
also  bear a label  containing additional statements as
required by paragraphs (c)  and (d) of this section.
The  label shall contain the  required information in
any  form that is clearly legible and complies with
the regulations in this part.  The information may be
on the tag bearing the analysis information or on  a
separate tag, or  it may be printed in a conspicuous
manner on a side or top of the container.
bonate,  cuprous oxide, zinc hydroxide, hexachloro-
benzene, and ethyl  mercury acetate.  The  terms
"mercury" or "mercurial" may be used in labeling
all types of mercurials. Examples of commonly ac-
cepted  abbreviated  chemical  names  are:  BHC
(1,2,3,-4,5,6,-Hexachlorocyclohexane)   and  DDT
(dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane).

  (c) Mercurials and  similary toxic  substances.—
(1) Seed treated with a mercurial or similarly toxic
substance, if any amount remains with the seed,
shall be labeled to show a representation of a skull
and  crossbones at least twice the  size of the  type
used for information required  to  be on the label
under paragraph  (a) and shall also  include in  red
letters  on a  background  of  distinctly  contrasting
color a  statement worded substantially  as  follows:
"This seed has been treated with Poison," "Treated
with Poison," "Poison  treated," or "Poison." The
word "Poison"  shall  appear in type no smaller than
8 points.
  (2) Mercurials and
elude the following:
Aldrin, technical
  sodium sulfonate
similarly toxic substances in-

    Mercurials, all types
       (ethylthio) ethyl
Any amount  of  such substances remaining  with
the seed is considered harmful within the meaning
of this section.
   (b) Name of substance.—The name of any sub-
stance as required by paragraph (a)  of this section
shall  be  the  commonly accepted coined,  chemical
(generic),  or  abbreviated   chemical  name.  Com-
monly accepted coined  names are free for general
use by the public, are not  private  trademarks, and
are commonly recognized  as names  of  particular
substances;  such  as thiram, captan,  lindane, and
dichlone.  Examples  of  commonly  accepted chemi-
cal (generic)  names  are:  bluestone,  calcium car-
   (d)  Other harmful substances.—If a  substance,
other than one which would be classified as a mer-
curial  or similarly toxic substance  under paragraph
(c) of this section, is used in the treatment of seed,
and the amount remaining with the seed is harmful
to  humans or other vertebrate animals, the  seed
shall be  labeled with an appropriate  caution  state-
ment in  type  no  smaller than 8 points worded sub-
stantially as follows: "Do not use for  food," "Do
not use for feed," "Do not use for oil purposes," or

"Do not use  for food, feed, or oil purposes." Any    Allethrin—2 p.p.m.        Piperonyl butoxide—8
amount of any substance, not within paragraph (c)     Malathion—8 p.p.m.         p.p.m. on oat and
of this section, used in the treatment of seed,  which    Methoxychlor—2 p.p.m.      sorghum and 20
remains with the seed  is considered harmful within                               p.p.m. on all other
the meaning of this  section when the seed  is in                               seeds.
containers of more than  4  ounces,  except that the                             Pyrethrins—1 p.p.m. on
following substances shall not be deemed harmful                               oat and sorghum and
when present at a rate less than the number of parts                               3 p.p.m. on all other
per million indicated:                                                            seeds.
                                                                               GPO 906-287