Seed testing is determining the standards of a seed lot viz., physical purity, moisture, germination and ODV and thereby enabling the farming community to get quality seeds.
The Seed Testing Laboratory is the hub of seed quality control. Seed testing services are required from time to time to gain information regarding planting value of seed lots. Seed testing is possible for all those who produce, sell and use seeds.
Objective & Importance of Seed Testing:-
Seed testing is required to achieve the following objectives for minimising the risks of planting low quality seeds.
- To identify the quality problem and their probable cause .
- To determine their quality, that is, their suitability for planting .
- To determine the need for drying and processing and specific procedures that should be used .
- To determine if seed meets established quality standards or labelling specifications.
- To establish quality and provide a basis for price and consumer discrimination among lots in the market. The primary aim of the seed testing is to obtain accurate and reproducible results regarding the quality status of the seed samples submitted to the Seed Testing Laboratories.
- The importance of seed testing was realized more than 100 years ago for assured planting values. The adulteration of vegetable seeds by stone dust which was packed in some parts of the world particularly in Europe.
- Seed testing has been developed to aid agriculture to avoid some of the hazards of crop production by furnishing the needed information about different quality attributer, purity, moisture, germination, vigour and health
- Quality control of seed depends on the different seed testing protocols which determine the genuineness of the cultivator.
- Testing of seed to evaluate the planting value and the authenticity of the certified lot.
- Seed testing is required to assess the seed quality attributes of the seed lots which have to be offered for sale.
- These quality attributes are seed moisture content, germination and vigour, physical and genetic purity, freedom from seed borne diseases and insect infestation. In India, seed testing is done mainly for moisture, germination and physical purity of seeds.
- Standard seed testing procedures for the evaluation of the seeds were developed by ISTA. It is obligatory on the part of the seed analyst to follow rules prescribed by 1STA (1STA, 1985) if the seed is moving to the International trade.
- The seed testing procedures which are described below are based mostly on the international rules because most of our rules (Chalam et al.. 1967) are based on, 1STA, 1996. Economic yield of a crop depends on the quality of seeds which can be evaluated by seed testing (1STA, 1996).
- The testing of seed quality is carried out on seed samples drawn from seed lot to be used for cultivation. The quantity of seed sample taken for testing in laboratory is minute compared to that of seed lot it represents.
Role of Seed Testing Laboratories:-
Seed testing laboratories are essential organization in seed certification and seed quality control programmes. The main objective is to serve the producer, the consumer and the seed industry by providing information on seed quality. Test results may cause rejection of poor seed multiplication or low grade seed in a count of law.
Analysis of seed in the laboratory: Seed testing is possible for all those who produce, sell and use seeds.Seed testing is highly specialized and technical job. With a view to maintain uniformity in quality control the seed analysis laboratory includes for distinct sections.
- Section for purity testing: Purity analysis of seed lot is considered under two factors
- Testing the cleanliness of seed lot .
- Testing the geneuiness of the cultivar.
- Section for moisture testing
- Section for viability, germination and section for vigour testing.