Last year, many areas across the Prairies experienced less-than-ideal harvesting conditions. It became apparent that seed dormancy was going to hide unexpected detrimental effects on germination and vigour results.
It’s been a seed analyst’s worst nightmare. For example, a good germination of 90 per cent and a poor vigour of 60 per cent is not uncommon. Our early assessments on all cereal grains, particularly wheat and barley, are indicating that dormant seed collected in the fall is not going to perform well, despite the fact that we’ve used every tool in the lab’s toolbox to break dormancy and get the best result.
Seed dormancy is defined as a state in which seeds are prevented from germinating even under environmental conditions normally favourable for germination. These conditions are a complex combination of water, light, temperature, gases, mechanical restrictions, seed coats and hormone structures.
Yes, all seeds are naturally in a “dormant” state, meaning they require very little of the resources necessary to stay alive until they are in the appropriate conditions to grow. But seeds with true “dormancy” issues have only the ability to grow under perfect germination conditions. When planted under cold or cool spring conditions however, they will just rot.
This presents growers with a major dilemma. Do they get rid of their dormant seed and buy new seed, or take a chance and plant it with a higher seeding rate? Thankfully there’s a third option.
Read my lips: cereal stress profile. Low vigour can be managed with this test, which is exclusive to our seed lab.
Compensating with a higher seeding rate is beneficial but starting with an optimum soil temperature is recommended. A cereal stress profile can show you a seed’s ability to germinate under the best conditions by providing the optimum temperature for field emergence. A cereal stress profile will give you the correct temperature for your seed emergence with a comparison to your germination result.
It helps you find the “sweet spot” for germination and helps you manage your questionable lots. Every person will have a different profile, so we work with clients on an individual basis to interpret it.
A cereal stress profile can be your secret weapon to battling dormancy issues in 2019! Contact me for more info on this test and how it works.