Canada’s certified seed system has a hard-won reputation for being among the safest in the world. Our growers have a long history of demonstrating a strong system that has become an integral part of our brand as a trusted major exporter of grain.
But with that power comes the responsibility of keeping it clean, for Canada’s reputation and grower protection. Here’s a look at why certified seed is the best option.
Genetic gain is important
Canadian seed companies are in the business of creating “genetic gain.” They invest millions of dollars each year in producing better varieties. They make it their business to produce higher-value material: with higher productivity, improved stability and quality. When growers buy certified seed, they’re buying a truly better, more advanced product.
Export Shipments are tested
There is always the potential for an importing country to examine grain for residues, transgenic traits and deregistered varieties. Mandatory seed certification does not exist in all countries. It is important to Canada’s entire system that our shipments maintain the integrity importing countries have come to expect from Canadian product.
As seed companies develop new technology, they deregister old ones. Varieties can be deregistered at any time, and some export markets are pickier than others about what they will accept. For example, some canola end-users are gravely concerned about blackleg presence. If a shipment gets turned around, growers are on the hook for significant fines — something nobody wants to risk.
If you’re not sure if the seed you have is registered, find the listing available from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The fastest way to find it is to use Google. Search for: CFIA registered varieties.
In the case of canola, using common seed that lacks a blue certified tag risks that by the time grain is delivered, the variety from which it originated will no longer be registered. Look for the blue government label on the bag. Certified seed provides peace of mind that once your crop is harvested at the end of another growing season, it has a viable market waiting to do business. The Canola Council of Canada has a good fact sheet that describes the importance of assuring your crop is “Export Ready.”
Dave Harwood is technical services manager at DuPont Pioneer.