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Importance of Certified Wheat Seed vs. Saving Seed

January 11, 2017
Agronomic image of wheat seed

Certified seed is defined as seed that has passed an inspection and seed testing process regulated by government agencies, and meets those specified variety standards. Many farmers purchase certified seed for planting and then save harvested seed for 2 or more consecutive years before buying fresh seed.

What’s the problem with this method? The further removed saved seed is from the original certified seed variety, the greater the risk of varietal impurities, poor seed germination, diseased seed, and volunteer crops and weeds.

Although the initial cost of saving seed is lower than purchasing certified seed, doing so may lead to a need to buy more seed and/or apply more crop protection products if the saved seed doesn’t perform as well as expected. Growers who purchase certified seed are receiving a product that has gone through the rigors of the certification process, was sourced from clean production fields, has passed inspections for varietal purity and germination viability, and is free of weeds and other contaminants. Additionally, by running a seed producer’s harvested seed crop over sophisticated cleaners and gravity tables, seed houses can select for the largest, heaviest kernels, which typically contribute to more vigorous plants that can emerge faster and better handle early-season stresses.

When a grower purchases certified seed, it comes with the guarantee that the seed is true to type. New advancements in seed technology, less risk of seedborne and soilborne disease infections and low germination rates are reasons growers should plant certified seed. If that’s not enough, the resulting investment helps increase yield and profit potential – more and more growers are beginning to recognize that enhancement. At the end of the day, it’s only about a couple of dollars per acre and considered a strategic part of a grower’s overall business plan.

1 Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Submitted by Corey Dathe, AgriPro® wheat key account lead from Syngenta in the Northern Plains

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