In spring 2008, bee colony losses caused by plant protection products occurred in the Upper Rhine Plain after maize seeding. Ever since the protection of bees and wild pollinators has been improved regarding authorization and use of seed treatment products.
Since then the BVL (Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety) issues product specific use ordinances, which refer to seed treatment facilities or drills tested by the JKI.
Improving seed treatment
The Institute for Application Techniques in Plant Protection registers seed treatment facilities in germany with quality assurance systems in regard of dust reduction. In these facilities the best technique available has to be installed to ensure that the release of dust is reduced to a minimum level during treating, storing and handling seeds. The seed treatment facilities are inspected with the help of checklists, which were developed by experts of the authorizing authority and associations of the seed treatment sector. Process flow, process technology and documentation during the process are the main criteria. Seed treatment facilities which meet the quality criteria are listed by the JKI. Several voluntary certification systems are accepted by the JKI and offer certificates, which also lead to a JKI-listing.
Another exposure path is drilling. Conversion kits fpr pneumatic drills can achieve a significant risk reduction. The JKI tests and lists seed drills with conversion kits, which fulfill higher requirements regarding dust drift reduction.
Testing of granules applicators
For certain applications of granules as plant protection products, e.g. in potato cultivation, granules applicators are required, which must have specific properties to ensure that the granules are fully incorporated into the soil. Some of these features go beyond the legal requirements. Devices that meet the requirements are added to the list of granulate spreaders after testing at the JKI. The BVL can refer to this list in its use ordinances.