Seed is the ultimate crop input. Testing it tells you everything there is to know about the seed you plan to use so that you can make informed decisions for the season ahead.
Here are some testing recommendations, based on seed type, along with a list of seed testing packages available through 20/20 Seed Labs Inc.
Cereal Seed Recommendations
Cereal seed should be tested more than once between harvest and seeding. Here are some guidelines to follow.
Post-harvest Quality Tests
When: After harvest and before cleaning, test seed for:
- Fusarium graminearum (cause of fusarium head blight) – DNA test, or Plate culture test
Why? These two tests will give you a general indication of seed quality before you spend more time and money on cleaning. If the seed quality is determined to be too low, you still have time to source new seed.
Note: For more meaningful test results, some producers do a rough screening of their submitted sample to remove some chaff, weed seeds, small and broken grain.
Pre-seed Quality Tests
When: After the grain has been cleaned, test seed for:
- 1,000 kernel weight.
Why? Storage can affect germination, so a second test will confirm the seed lot’s actual germination rate prior to planting. Germination rate, combined with vigour and 1,000 kernel weight test results will help to determine the optimum seeding rate for a healthy plant stand. You can also use this information to determine the number of acres/hectares you can seed with the quantity of seed you have.
Pre-seed Disease and Purity Tests
Fungal Screen™. If there was any indication of disease in the crop during the previous growing season, order a Fungal Screen™ test to determine the types of disease on the seed and the level of infection.
- Use the results to help choose the best seed treatment (and rate) needed to control the disease(s) present.
True Loose Smut Test. This test is specific to true loose smut (TLS), which affects mainly barley, but can also be found in wheat, and can result in yield losses of 1% to 40%.
- The fungus infects the embryo of the seed, as opposed to surface-borne smuts and bunts, so proper identification is important.
- Test results can help determine if the seed can still be used if a systemic seed treatment is applied, or if you need to find another seed source.
Varietal Purity. This test can determine purity of the class and/or the variety of cereal seed. This is most important with common seed, but may still be an issue with any seed purchased from other sources. The purchaser, or end user, may want confirmation of class or variety of the grain.
Pulse Seed Recommendations
Post-harvest Quality Tests
When: Pulse crops are very susceptible to mechanical damage during harvesting and binning. They should be tested for:
- Electrical conductivity
Why? Germination and electrical conductivity tests will give an initial degree of quality and seed soundness.
Since many producers harvest pulse crops at high moisture levels to reduce cracking, a moisture test is advised after the seed is binned to get an idea about any potential storage issues. Many pulse crops are sprayed with a pre-harvest desiccant and, depending on when it is tested after harvest, the desiccant can cause varying levels of abnormal seedlings.
Pre-seed Quality Tests
When: Once the seed is cleaned, test seed for:
- 1,000 Kernel Weight
Why? As with cereal seed, these three tests form the basis for establishing the best seeding rate for optimal plant stand. The second germination test will confirm the germination rate after storage. Cleaning and handling can cause mechanical damage, especially with seed that may have a lower moisture level from storage or since harvest time, so it’s important to test pulse seed at this point to ensure all is well.
Pre-seed Disease Tests
Complete Disease Diagnostic™. Pulse seeds are highly susceptible to disease, and a Complete Disease Diagnostic™ will help identify and evaluate any seed-borne diseases that can be controlled with the proper choice of seed treatment.
A Complete Disease Diagnostic™ is highly recommended if you are aware of specific disease issues that occurred during the growing season, such as ascochyta or anthracnose. The test can determine the level of infection so that you can make an informed decision about using the seed.
Seed Testing Packages
20/20 Seed Labs Inc. offers agronomic testing packages – a quick way to request a bundle of tests for general information about your seed.
The following package options fit most needs to determine general seed quality, and we can also custom-design test packages for anyone wanting more specific seed quality information.
Cereal Seed Testing Packages
|Package Name||Tests Included||Options|
|Basic Quality A||Germination, Fusarium graminearum (DNA)||True Loose Smut|
|Basic Quality B||Germination, Fusarium graminearum (plate culture)||True Loose Smut|
|Standard||Germination, Fusarium graminearum, Vigour (cold stress)||True Loose Smut|
|Premium||Germination, Fusarium graminearum, Vigour (cold stress), 1000 kernel weight||True Loose Smut|
|Professional||Germination, Fusarium graminearum, Vigour (cold stress), 1000 kernel weight, Fungal Screen™||True Loose Smut|
Pulse Seed Testing Packages
|Package Name||Tests Included|
|Basic Quality||Germination, 1000 kernel weight|
|Standard||Germination, 1000 kernel weight, Vigour|
|Premium||Germination, 1000 kernel weight, Vigour, Ascochyta|
|Professional (Peas)||Germination, 1000 kernel weight, Vigour, Ascochyta, Complete Disease Diagnostic™|
|Professional (Other Pulses)||Germination, 1000 kernel weight, Vigour, Ascochyta, Complete Disease Diagnostic™|
For information on pricing, please contact us.