Over 50% of pulse samples tested for germination have had mechanical damage this fall and winter. This is a big quality issue as mechanically damaged seedlings will not be able to develop normally to grow into healthy mature plants (Figure 1).
Field peas are the pulse crop with the largest amount of mechanical damage, as the season was so hot and dry it was difficult to harvest peas at a higher moisture to reduce splits and damage. Factors that influence the amount of mechanical damage in a field pea seed lot include low moisture levels, auger speeds, growing season conditions, and there is a varietal factor as well. Our germination analysts have noticed that older varieties of peas have a tighter and thicker seed coat which could help mitigate mechanical damage at harvest.
Going forward this winter, take care and use slower auger speeds when moving peas and other pulses. Moving peas during warm outside temperatures could also help. It is possible that using a seed treatment or a type of seed coating could help to soften the seed coat and reduce further mechanical damage at planting.
It is highly recommended to check seed quality by testing for germination and vigour in the spring before seeding.
If you have any questions about this report or would like to discuss further, please contact Rachael at 780-863-6432 or Rachael@2020seedlabs.ca.