20 June 1998

DESIGN YOUR

OWN TESTS

ANYONE wanting to save their own seed this harvest should take note of a new one-stop-shop seed testing service from NIAB.

The Labtest individual crop packages include a range of seed tests designed to suit the needs of most growers at an all inclusive price. If these off-the-shelf seed packages dont suit, growers can ask for their own seed test combinations – price to be negotiated with NIAB.

"We provide a flexible service," says Dr Juno McKee of the seeds department. "Just let us know what tests you require and well sort it out."

Five crop packages are on offer.

1 RAPESEED is split into two fast turnaround services – the basic tests, and a more comprehensive programme. Basic tests include glucosinolate levels, germination, and thousand seed weight. Sample size required is 120g. Price: £48 which includes a sowing rate table calculated for that particular sample.

The comprehensive package (200g sample required) includes added extras of a viability and vigour test, a sclerotinia search, alternaria and canker tests. The £160 price is £91 cheaper than these tests would be outside the package deal.

2MALTING BARLEY package (500g sample) offers varietal purity test (visual assessment, seven-day turnaround, and a plot test for June result); thousand grain weight determination, and a diagnostic germination test (7-14 day turnaround). Growers receive a sowing rate table based on the results of the sample. Price is £96. Seed borne disease testing, including loose smut, leaf stripe and net blotch is available as a bolt-on extra for a total package price of £177. As well as test results growers are given advice on seed dressings.

3WHEAT AND BARLEY basic package (100g sample) includes diagnostic germination and thousand grain weight for £40. A sowing rate table is included.

The comprehensive package deal has the extras of a viability and vigour test (1-2 days) and seed borne disease inspection (1-8 days) covering fusarium, bunt, loose smut, leaf stripe and next blotch; price is £147 and a 350g sample is required.

4FIELD BEANS basic deal (600g sample) puts together germination and ascochyta tests with thousand seed weight determination. A sowing rate table is included in the price of £67. Where stem nematode infestation is likely, it may be worth paying an extra £15 for a seed test.

5FIELD PEAS basic package is fine for where sowing conditions are good and disease risk is low, suggests NIAB. This includes germination test and thousand seed weight determination. Sample required is 600g – price is £30. A comprehensive seed test deal offers conductivity vigour test (useful to gauge establishment potential in difficult conditions) and mycosphaerella and ascochyta tests; price is £92 for which NIAB require a 900g sample.

Growers intending to save winter-sown pea varieties are strongly advised to seek a pea blight test. Complete package including blight test is £152; sample required is 1.9kg.

lLabtest is at NIAB, Huntingdon Rd, Cambs CB3 OLE (01223 276381).