22 June 2001
Growers urged to test leftover seeds

By Andrew Blake

CEREAL growers with seed left over from last season are being strongly urged to have it tested, at least for germination, before sowing this autumn.

Last years bad weather and the greater set-aside area mean many more growers will be looking to sow early, says Dalgetys Barry Barker.

At the lower rates required, it is vital that every seed produces a plant, he warns.

A germination test is an absolute must, especially if you are drilling early at low seed rates.

Much more unused certified winter wheat and barley seed remains on farms than usual, and the temptation to sow it untested should be resisted, he advises.

In some parts of the country as much as 20% of last years seed requirements may still be in the bag, and poorly stored seed can deteriorate.

Provided it is stored dry and no more than one year old, treatments should have no adverse affect.

But under less than ideal conditions some phytotoxicity is inevitable, says Mr Barker.

Growers with certified seed bought from the company should speak to their regional office, he advises.

Meanwhile, Banks Cargill are offering growers who bought seed from them a vigour and germination test free of charge.

And seed supplies could be a worry, warns David Hamilton of Countrywide Farmers.

With the seed production area down about 30% on 2000, so growers will be keen to make a start with over-yeared seed, he believes.

The firm is offering a free germination test on any carry-over farm stocks of certified seed, saving about 30/sample.

We strongly advise a test as soon as possible before the work load in seed testing laboratories increases at harvest, he says.

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