Storing low germination or poor quality seed is one of the easiest ways to set your next season back before it even starts.
However, following some simple steps now can help growers ensure the quality of their grain and make sure they do not waste time and effort storing poor quality seed that would eat into profits later.
“Checking seed quality is a process that will pay dividends later, so germination percentage and vigour should be checked at harvest, during storage and again before seeding,” Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) manager of commercial farm technologies Paul Meibusch said.
“Additionally the variety and purity should be confirmed and good records should be kept so you know you are only planting the varietal line you want. Seed with low germination or vigour should be avoided as these have a direct effect on the emergence and uniformity of the next season’s crop,” he said.
Mr Meibusch said a laboratory seed test for germination should be carried out before seeding to accurately calculate seeding rates, however, a simple on-farm test in soil was adequate at harvest and during storage.
Generally a germination of 80 per cent at seeding is considered acceptable, with strong uniform emergence and healthy-coloured roots and shoots.
“Assessing germination during storage will help indicate potential problems and the regular checking of seed silos also can be timed with checks for insects,” Mr Meibusch said.
He also recommended testing for seed-borne diseases, especially for saved pulse seeds.
Mr Meibusch said weather damaged seeds were more susceptible to poor germination, low vigour and degradation during storage and should be discarded.
To harvest the best possible seed, harvest at low moisture and cool temperatures. Storage temperature and moisture must also be monitored and controlled. He said farmers should remember that grain must not be retained for seed when glyphosate had been used in pre-harvest applications.
This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.