Many farmers are gearing up for the planting season by readying their drills and preparing their fields. Most have probably decided what variety of wheat they are going to plant, and might be planning on using saved seed.
Saved seed is acceptable for planting if proper precautions are taken to ensure quality and purity have been preserved. Storage, handling, and cleaning can all damage or reduce the viability and purity of saved seed. One easy way to reduce the risk of using saved seed is to have it tested before planting.
The Seed Laboratory at Kansas Crop Improvement Association can help growers ensure their seed has the potential to provide a successful crop. "Our Registered Seed Technologists have been properly trained in the techniques of seed testing, and can identify key issues or problems that others might not notice," said Eric Fabrizius, lab manager.
An extensive range of tests are available like germination, purity, test weight, and seeds per pound to name a few. Most farmers request a germination test to determine viability of saved seed. To ensure their seed is not contaminated with other crops or weeds, farmers can also request a purity test. A two pound sample is requested to test for germination and purity, which takes about one week from receipt of the seed. To speed up the process of reporting, test results can be e-mailed. Fabrizius cautions, "Although farmers may be tempted to plant saved seed without testing, the cost of a germination test is very little compared to the issues that could occur later from planting poor quality seed."
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