INSIDERS Trade Shows are the Perfect Place to Talk Seed Health

Trade Shows are the Perfect Place to Talk Seed Health


Sarah Foster
Sarah Foster
President and Senior Seed Analyst, 20/20 Seed Labs - Sarah Foster is a registered seed technologist, senior seed analyst and president of 20/20 Seed Labs — a company she started in 1989 that provides testing services for all crop kinds, including extensive quality and seed health analysis, molecular testing and accredited crop inspection. Involved in the seed industry since the late 1970s, Foster studied and qualified as an accredited seed analyst at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge, England. Her work experience includes seven years with Sharps Seed International (Advanta) in the United Kingdom, and five years with the United Grain Growers in Edmonton after immigrating to Canada in 1984.

In my last column I talked about how you can build a prescription/plan for managing seed health concerns. This is the optimal time of year to get seed tested as we look ahead to the coming growing season.

A diagnostic profile lists, along with your normal seedlings, everything else that makes up the total germination. You will also see abnormal, fresh, dormant or dead seeds. This profile should always accompany your germination test results. This profile outlines symptoms noted in the seed lot like frost, chemical toxicity or injury, heating or mechanical damage, dormancy and the presence of pathogens. This is the start for building a prescription or plan for managing the outcome.

The thing about a typical prescription, however, is you usually have to go back to the doctor so he or she can assess how successful the prescribed treatment is. Seed testing is no different — building the prescription is the first step. The second step is checking in with your testing provider to ensure things are on the right track.

Trade shows are a great time to do this. A good seed testing company will be present at all major trade shows, and should be there to talk with clients and prospective clients about seed health and the steps they should be taking to ensure said health.

A prescription varies depending upon crop conditions. Every year needs change, and it’s important to keep testing for vigour and seed health year over year to establish that the agronomy is working.

When we attend major trade shows, experienced seed testing experts are prepared with answers and examples of tests that work to save on inputs and improve production.

It’s also an opportunity to bring your farming data on your mobile phone and let us have a look at your unique situation. It’s important to remember that using a seeding rate calculator has huge value because we can target plant population and establishment through more in-depth analysis.

A good seed testing partner won’t staff their trade show booth with salespeople. We have qualified staff on hand to meet the needs of people there, to talk about disease pressure, to relate to you concerns. We take these tradeshows very seriously.

Seed testing professionals think of trade show attendees like a doctor thinks about his or her patients. We care, and we want what’s best for those who keep this industry successful, year after year.