Voluntary Planter Standard Making Headway In Protecting Pollinators

As many of you already know, generally speaking there isn’t a whole lot of reaching across the aisle going on in the world of Big Ag Equipment.

For lack of a better analogy, the giants like John Deere, Case IH and AGCO seem to operate on a similar philosophy as longtime Big Ten conference rivals The Ohio State University and Michigan, both of whom refuse to refer to the other as anything other than “That School Up North” and “Ohio.”

So imagine my surprise having learned that equipment mega-rivals Case-IH and Deere have joined forces (along with other equipment manufacturers, crop protection industry reps and both domestic and international regulatory officials) in an effort to establish voluntary planter design standards that are more protective of pollinators.

This initiative – backed by research from the Julius Kuhn Institute, which describes itself as “a federal research center for cultivated plants” in Germany – arose after a particularly nasty bee kill in Germany back in 2008 which many have blamed on a “sloppy” application of a seed treatment insecticide from the neonicotinoid class onto corn seed that dusted off in a vacuum/negative pressure planter.

“This was not what you’d call a typical incident, however, as there was basically a perfect storm of conditions for this bee kill to occur,” recalls Karl W. Klotzbach, product safety & compliance engineer, CNH Industrial America. “The application rate used was about 62 grams of active ingredient per 1,000 seeds, or about double what we typically put on in the U.S. Also, there was no seed coating or binder used, and it was a fairly unusual planting in that it was late in the season and bees were actively foraging in close proximity to the field.”

Read the full story on our sister site CropLife.com by clicking here.

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