From the Ground Up

Inspiring views on the evolution of soil and agriculture.

Pedigreed Seed Achieves Results

Seed Strategy

The ultimate goal of crop production is to get the highest yield possible while preserving the best grade attainable. Producers deploy fertility programs, chemical strategies, and other technology and management decisions to achieve this.  However, when it comes to maximizing the genetic yield potential of a crop; or the highest attainable yield in a perfect environment; this is solely attributed to a producers “Seed Strategy”.   Yield potential is set the moment the seed is placed in the ground.  Everything else put into the crop is done to minimize the environmental risk on the genetic yield potential.


Variety Selection

Proper variety selection must be matched to individual farm management strategies and goals.  Variety selection and crop management is a balance between a good offence for yield, and a good defence for yield and grade preservation. There is no such thing as the perfect variety, but there are best varieties for each farm.  Fertility programs, frost free period, chemical programs, soil type, rainfall, pest pressures as well as many other management decisions collectively influence the genetic potential of the variety planted.  Sprouting tolerance, days to maturity, lodging resistance, disease resistance, insect resistance, among others, can positively or negatively influence the potential grade of the resulting crop.  Do you forego any of these for yield? That’s a decision left to the individual producer.  If a producer is not completely familiar with the varieties available in the marketplace, they should prepare a list of what is important and concerns they have.  Armed with that information, talk with local seed experts.   When goals are clear, helping to find the right varieties is a much easier task.


Quality Matters

Seed is a living organism, and a single quality test is health checkup at a single point in time. Quality seed goes far beyond germination.  Seedlings classified as “Abnormals” are the first indication that there may be quality concerns, and investigating the causes of abnormalities is the only way to set the highest genetic yield potential possible.  Given the environmental conditions experienced through the fall of 2016, producers that haven’t done a seed quality “checkup” more than once or twice over the winter, are taking an unnecessary risk in setting their crops potential this spring.  There are experts across the prairies that live and breathe seed quality daily, and available to help producers in this area. Seed quality absolutely matters and is not worth risking.


Bin Run vs Certified Seed

Recent studies conducted by Syngenta on yield impact of bin run vs certified seed in wheat showed that for each successive generation away from certified, yield decreases by an average of 2.3 bu/ac.  While this number variable year over year it is clear that:

  1. Bin run seed has both tangible and intangible costs.
  2. At 20% certified seed usage, 80% of the wheat acres in western Canada start with a lower genetic yield potential
  3. Use of certified seed consistently maximizes yield potential
  4. Starting with lower genetic yield potential reduces the return on investment for everything else put into the crop.

Producing certified seed involves passing multiple regulated inspection points and production requirements in order to meet CFIA standards for genetic purity and seed health.  While this does come at a slightly higher cost to bin run seed, using certified seed and knowing experts who live and breathe seed every day have put their expertise into its production and evaluation is good insurance that producers seed high genetic potential.  The Blue Tag is their guarantee.


Blog courtesy of Chris Churko, General Manager with Alliance Seed, Winnipeg MB. For more information please visit


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