10 August 2001
Germination results prompt test calls

By Tom Allen-Stevens

THERE have been renewed calls for growers to test over-yeared seed following initial germination results from NIAB laboratories.

The companys Labtest service has been unusually busy for several weeks with samples from farmers keen to ensure their held-over seed has remained viable.

“The tests show that most seed has retained good germination potential,” said NIABs Dr Juno McKee.

“But sufficient poor results have been identified to underline the value of testing.”

Huge quantities of certified and farm-saved seed were put into storage last year after extremely wet weather made much land unsuitable for drilling.

“Growers have been voicing a number of concerns in their calls to NIAB,” Dr McKee continued.

These have included the effect of chemical treatments on stored seed quality and on the efficacy of treatments, given the long interval until drilling.

“Important factors that may affect the quality of seed in storage include the moisture content and temperature during storage and the original viability of the seed.

“For over-yeared, chemically-treated seed, a germination test is probably the most suitable option,” she advised.

About three-quarters of all samples tested for germination have proved to be above the 85% standard for certified seed, and about two-thirds have achieved 95% or over.