10 top tips to produce better farm-saved seed

Farm-saved seed could be an attractive option this autumn with falling grain price and tight cashflows, and growers need to ensure any seed saved for drilling is of high quality.

Mark Taylor, national farm-saved seed business manager with distributor Agrii, operates a nationwide fleet of 25 mobiles processing many tens of thousands of tonnes of seed a season, and advises growers to prevent any contamination by grassweeds and diseases.

“This makes it vital to select and handle grain to be farm saved with care, clean and treat it appropriately, and test it thoroughly. That way you can be sure that what you sow is the best you can produce,” he says.

Mr Taylor adds the easier way to pay British Society of Plant Breeder royalties is through a processor, ensuring it is recorded on an invoice.

He has identified 10 top tips for farm-saved seed users. 

Best practice when growing seed for farm-saving

  1. Use crops grown from certified seed of the highest quality.
  2. Select fields or areas of fields with minimal grassweed populations and where ear disease control has been good.
  3. Clean combines and trailers carefully before harvesting to minimise contamination.
  4. Avoid all crops treated with glyphosate pre-harvest.
  5. Harvest crop at 16% moisture or below.
  6. Measure thousand grain weight at the point of processing for the greatest accuracy.
  7. Have the seed laboratory-tested for viability and vigour as well as germination.
  8. Select the most appropriate seed treatments for the variety.
  9. Insist on professional processing geared to the specific needs of each seed lot.
  10. Ensure your processor retains all samples “as grown and treated” for the entire crop year.

See also: Guidelines for using home-saved cereals seed