September 21, 2017 Kris Cherewyk
Bin-Run Seed Testing for Spring Success
One of the more common practices amongst grain producers, is the use of cereal crops harvested in the fall for seed to be planted in the spring. A grower’s own grain to be used for seed is commonly known as bin-run. Despite the many benefits of using certified cereal seed purchased from registered seed growers, many producers use bin-run as a means of reducing costs in their operations. Even if the sample from the bin-run seed is graded well at the elevator, it is very important to have grain tested by a lab in order to properly determine quality, germination and vigor which are all critical elements in the success of a cereal crop.
Quality testing is used to determine the amount of disease that is on the seed. For example, fusarium graminearum spores can still be present even with no fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) in the sample. If the bin-run quality does not meet the minimum requirements, the seed should not be used for planting. Germination testing determines the seeding rate that farmers will need to use to produce their desired plant populations in the field. Vigor testing measures how well bin-run seeds hold up against cooler, growth-stunting conditions, which can be common during spring seeding.
These factors will all determine whether to use bin-run seed next spring. The cost of using poor quality seed is far greater than making the investment in quality certified seed from local seed growers. World-class seeding technology, such as Seed Hawk will not compensate for poor quality seed being used. The two must go hand in hand to produce a high yielding, high quality cereal crop in 2018. Only a representative sample taken during harvest will most accurately determine quality of the entire bin.
Discovery Seed Labs: http://www.seedtesting.com/
Further information from Sask Agriculture and minimum quality standards: http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/20/98473-Guidelines%20for%20seed-borne%20diseases%20of%20cereal%20crops.pdf