County Agent Update
High Quality Seed (part 1)
With the weather, overall, starting to feel like spring, farmers get an itch. With the nice weather, longer days and drying soil we want to get into the field as soon as possible. This year I have received a few calls about seed varieties, seed rates and of course, vomitoxin. The following information is from the NDSU Extension publication Selecting High-quality Seed of Cereal Grains written by Joel Ransom.
Farmers are particular about the variety of seed they grow. That means they understand the advantage of improved genetic potential. They also should be aware or the agronomic characteristics of the seed lot they select. High-quality seed can be selected on the basis of appearance and tests. Note that testing is the only reliable means of determining the ability of seed to germinate and presence of disease. Varietal purity usually cannot be determined by looking at the seed. DNA-based genetic tests have been developed for available varieties. This test is conducted as part of the seed certification process. Using certified seed, having absolute knowledge of the source, reading the seed tag and relying on the credibility of the seller are the only ways to be sure of purity. The ability of seed to germinate cannot be determined by visual inspection. Testing a good representative sample is the only way to be certain the seeds will grow. Minimum germination of good seed is; Hard red spring wheat 90%, Durum wheat 85%, Hard red winter wheat 90%, Barley 90%, Oats 90%, Rye 80% and Flaxseed 85%. Some other factors to consider are high test weight per bushel indicateing a well-matured seed, kernel plumpness, color, conditions, disease and uniform size. Along with things to be looking for in seed, it is important to note what to avoid in seed selections. Many factors can cause kernel damage, making a lot of grain unsuitable for seed. Such damage should be looked for and avoided when choosing seed or grain that is to be conditioned and made into planting seed. High moisture in storage; wheat, rye, oats and barley that went into permanent storage with more that 13% moisture, or flax with more than 9% moisture, should not be used for seed. Damp stored grain is likely to develop molds and will heat and spoil when the first warm weather occurs in the spring, if the seed is kept properly it will hold its germination for two or three years. Heat-dried grain that is mechanically dried at temperatures in excess of 110 degrees is not suitable for seed. Such drying injures germination. Preharvest glyphosate applied to fields that are for seed should be avoided. When glyphosate is applied after maturity, it should not move into the seed, but applications that are too early result in germination problems in the seed.