Under the Microscope: Harvest Conditions Weigh on Late Winter Germination Rates

In farming, we want two very opposite things from seed — we want a seed that stores well, perhaps even long term, but also a seed that, the moment conditions are right, it speedily germinates and becomes a hardy seedling. You can’t always have it both ways, of course, and the inner workings of a seed — those subtle changes from dormant to active — are largely hidden. This is way testing seed early and more than once is a key first step in establishing a targeted crop stand count.

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Two key crops are showing signs this winter of losing germ in the bin — CPS wheat and malt barley, according to Holly Gelech, business development manager with Biovision Seed Labs. The impact of decreasing germ could be far more costly on barley destined for malt, yes, but for farmers with CPS wheat ready for the seeding season, a significantly different germ rate could translate to poor stand establishment in the spring. In this episode of Under the Microscope, Gelech walks us through what’s causing this late winter germ loss and what to do about it.

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