Wheat School: Seed test for dormancy and vigour after a drought year


How drought can impact seed quality is definitely a question on a lot of farmers’ minds this year.

Rachael Melenka, client success manager at 20/20 Seed Labs, has all the information to consider for testing harvested grains in this Wheat School episode.

There is a potential issue with seed grown having increased dormancy this year versus a more average year. That can impact a seed lot’s vigour rating.

Melenka explains that abscisic acid produced by plants during dry conditions will affect gibberellin hormone production, which regulates seed maturity and dormancy. When gibberellin production decreases, there’s the potential for increased dormancy in seed, which in turn can affect seed vigour.

“Of course we know that with drought, and in different conditions where the plant doesn’t have ideal conditions to fill the seed, we get smaller and lighter seed,” says Melenka.

Thousand kernel weights will be affected by the drought, and although seed tested off the combine might look good, it’s important to get that grain tested again in spring for germination, vigour, and thousand kernel weight. Six months of storage over winter can affect germination and vigour in particular.

Melenka also recommends to watch out for mechanical damage while handling seed that could also affect germination and vigour next spring.

Catch the full conversation with Melenka and field editor Kara Oosterhuis, below:

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