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How can you determine the viability of old seed or untested seed?
Nashville, Ark. – Many producers are considering planting annual forages this fall
to supplement their winter grazing. Commercial seed companies provide information
for a seed lot on the seed tag including seed purity, percent germination and the
date when tested. Seed germination percent can decline over time, especially under
less than ideal storage conditions. Sometimes producers may have seed that is held
over from prior years, or farm-grown seed may be available that does not have a germination
test. How can you determine the viability of old seed or untested seed?
To conduct your own seed germination test at home, follow these steps:
Using the Germination Test Results: If the germination test shows 85% or more germination,
you can plant at the normal recommended seeding rate to achieve a good forage stand.
If the germination rate is less than 85%, increase the seeding rate to account for
the lower seed viability. To adjust the seeding rate, divide the normal recommended
seeding rate by the percent germination found in your germination test. For example,
a lot of alfalfa seed left over from the previous year has a germination rate of 70%.
The normal recommended seeding rate for alfalfa is 20 lbs per acre. So the adjusted
seeding rate for the lower germination rate is 20 / 0.70 = 28.5 lbs of seed to plant.
Recommended seeding rates for many forages are provided in various fact sheets available
at your county extension office.
For more information, download the publication, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Howard County Extension office is still working and is there for all the residents
in Howard County during this time.
By Samantha HornCounty Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com