Under the Microscope: What to Consider for Last-Minute Pulse Seed Tests

For this episode of Under the Microscope, we take you into the depths of BioVision Seed Labs’ Sherwood Park laboratory, to hear last minute seed test recommendations from Sydney Vos, marketing coordinator with BioVision.

In the video, Vos gives an overview of four of the most important tests to consider, including:

  1. Germination
  2. Cool Stress Vigour
  3. 1000 Kernel Weight
  4. Fungal Scan

Germination

Germination tests assess the emergence and development of seeds under controlled moisture, light and temperature conditions.

“Some of your larger seeded pulse crops like faba beans, peas and chick peas can be subject to overaggressive handling during harvest, augering or cleaning,” says Vos, adding that such handling can result in mechanical damage, which shows up as abnormal results on the Report of Analysis.

Other causes of abnormals can include seeds affected by fresh, dormant, hard or deads seeds, and those affected by chemical damage.

If your Report shows high numbers of abnormals in the seedlot, it’s important to call your lab to determine what it is, says Vos.

Cool Stress Vigour 

“Another test to consider for your pulse crops if you’re doing some last minute testing is a cool stress vigour test,” says Vos. “What the cool stress vigour test shows is how your pulse crop preforms in a cold environment.”

That means the sample is subjected to 7 days of 7C temperatures in the dark, before moving to the germination chamber.

Producers should expect slightly lower numbers from this test versus germination, as conditions can be less favourable to plant development.

1000 Kernel Weight

While you’ve got your seed in for testing anyway, it might be a good idea to determine the 1000 kernel weight in order to prepare for seeding.

“Some pulse crops can really range in their 1000 kernel weight,” says Vos. “For example: faba beans can range from anywhere in the 300 grams per thousand seeds all the way up to over 600 grams.”

Check out this Seeding Rate Calculator, from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

That can mean a significant shift in plant density if seeding without that knowledge, on a bushel/acre basis.

Fungal Scan

Disease levels in pulses are generally down this year, but they’re still present, says Vos. And identifying potential disease issues before seeding can help producers avoid problems in the field.

For BioVision, this means looking for diseases like Ascochyta, Botrytis, Anthracnose, Sclerotinia, and Aphanomyces. 

RelatedPulse School: Identifying Seed Borne Diseases & What To Do With Seed Test Results

In the video, Vos reminds us that getting these results back can take a little more time, and that no matter what you’re considering doing as far as tests go, have a good idea of when you’re ideal planting date and how long the tests take.

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