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Making sense of seed tests

Agronomy tips... from the field

grain sample in a dish

When you’re looking to get your crop off to the best possible start this season, the last thing you need is to be saddled with poor quality seed. That’s why I always recommend you take the time now to get your seed tested at an accredited laboratory.

Knowledge is power and having a clear idea of how your seed is going to germinate, its vigour test result, and the level of disease pressure will help inform the decisions you make going forward. Start by providing the lab with the freshest possible sample of your grain. Put aside a small batch either right at harvest, or when you’re cleaning seed.

Ideally, what you’ll want to see from the lab results is an 80 to 90 per cent germination rate to know your seed will come out of the ground strong.

When looking at diseases like fusarium, seed with a one to five per cent disease is generally safe to plant. However, you should still use a seed treatment to prevent further disease from developing. Anything at a five per cent level and above tends to be the tipping point where you need to consider sourcing from another seed lot, or applying a quality seed treatment product.

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