Seed Production/ Quality Assurance
Production of high-quality seed is fundamental to modern
agriculture. Most annual crops are established each
season from seeds, and seed quality can have a major
impact on potential crop yield. Seeds can serve as the
delivery system not only for improved genetics but also
for new planting and production methods and crop
protection strategies that improve the overall
efficiency of agriculture and reduce its environmental
The purity of any commercial product propagated by seed
begins with the
genetic purity of
the seed planted.
Genetic purity standards have been
established by state seed laws and seed certification
agencies to assure growers that the seed they buy is
accurately labeled with the correct crop and variety.
Seed purity standards also specify the percentage of
contamination by seeds or genetic material of other
varieties or species.
The physical purity of seed refers
to the presence and identity of weed seeds, and the
percentage of other materials such as dirt or plant
residues. In addition, the germination capacity of the
seed in a standard test must be shown on the label.
In some cases, seeds must also be tested for the
presence of seed-borne diseases, and
hybridity tests are conducted to confirm
parentage in hybrid seed.
Production of high quality seed is an exacting task.
Seed producers take many steps to protect genetic
integrity, including ensuring the integrity of their
planting seed, properly identifying and labeling plants
and fields, planting seeds on clean land which has not
been used to grow the same crop in the recent past,
removing rogue plants, or plants which are not true to
the variety’s characteristics, and employing physical
isolation – via mesh cages, distance
isolation, time isolation or hand pollination – to
ensure that pollination only occurs among plants of the