Top tips to ensure your seeds succeed

First published in Farming

DISAPPOINTING grain prices and tight cash flows are likely to make farm-saved seed a particular consideration for many cereal growers this autumn.

But Mark Taylor, Agrii national farm-saved seed business manager, says if they are to avoid compromising next year’s performance, growers need to do everything they can to ensure the quality of their home-grown seed.

Mr Taylor, whose nationwide fleet of 25 mobiles process tens of thousands of farmsaved seed each year, said grass weed levels are high in many crops this season.

“At the same time,” he said, “yellow rust and Septoria have made their presence felt in no uncertain terms, and the threat of fusarium ear blight is considerable.”

He gave ten tips for farmsaved seed care and attention this season: use crops grown from certified seed of the highest possible quality; select fields or areas with minimal grass weed populations and where ear disease control has been first class; clean combines and trailers carefully before harvesting to minimise contamination; avoid all crops treated with glyphosate pre-harvest; harvest at 16 per cent moisture or below; measure 1000 grain weights at the point of processing for the greatest accuracy; have the seed laboratory-tested for viability and vigour, as well as germination, wherever possible; select the most appropriate seed treatments for the variety and seed status as part of essential T(-1) discussions with your agronomist; insist on professional processing geared to the specific needs of each seed lot and check the quality before accepting it; and ensure your processor retains all samples “as grown & treated” for the entire crop year for complete traceability.

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