Top tips for farm-saved seed this autumn - Agrii - Connecting Agri-science with farming

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July 10, 2014

Top tips for farm-saved seed this autumn

Disappointing grain prices and tight cash flows are likely to make farm-saved seed a particular consideration for many cereal growers this autumn; especially so with the best mobile processors offering fixed plant production standards coupled with the greatest flexibility.

If they are to avoid compromising next year’s performance, however, growers need to do everything they can to ensure the quality of their home-grown seed, insists Agrii national farm-saved seed business manager, Mark Taylor. And he should know, with his nationwide fleet of 25 modern mobiles processing many tens of thousands of tonnes of farm-saved seed each year.

“Grass weed levels are very high in many crops this season,” he pointed. “At the same time,  yellow rust and Septoria have made their presence felt in no uncertain terms, and the threat of fusarium ear blight is considerable.

“This makes it vital to select and handle grain to be farm-saved with care, clean and treat it appropriately, and test it thoroughly. That way you can be sure that what you sow is the best you can produce.”

Mark Taylor identifies 10 top tips for farm-saved seed care and attention this season:

  1. Use crops grown from certified seed of the highest possible quality – preferably to Master Seeds standards;
  2. Select fields or areas of fields with minimal grass weed populations and where ear disease control, in particular, has been first class;
  3. Clean combines and trailers carefully before harvesting to minimise contamination;
  4. Avoid all crops treated with glyphosate pre-harvest;
  5. Harvest at 16% moisture or below;
  6. Measure 1000 grain weights at the point of processing for the greatest accuracy;
  7. Have the seed laboratory-tested for viability and vigour as well as germination, wherever possible;
  8. Select the most appropriate seed treatments for the variety and seed status as part of essential T(-1) discussions with your agronomist, involving drilling dates, seed rates and black-grass management as well as disease and pest control.
  9. Insist on professional processing geared to the specific needs of each seed lot and check the quality before accepting it; and,
  10. Ensure your processor retains all samples ‘as grown & treated’ for the entire crop year for complete traceability.

“Of course, you’ll need to be paying BSPB royalties wherever applicable,” adds Mark Taylor. “The easiest way is to do so is via your processor, ensuring it is recorded on your invoice.

“With demand likely to be higher than normal this season, it will be especially important to book your processing in good time too.  This will ensure you have the right seed in the right condition and place to take advantage of the best drilling conditions.”