3075 Lane 51 1/2

Manderson, WY 82432

800-967-1798

307-568-3361

wrsales@windriverseed.com

 

 

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PRACTICING SAFE SEED
 

Abstract:

Maximizing seed establishment begins before seed is purchased. Ambiguity or conflicts in the entire seeding process should be resolved before any contracts are let. External inputs such as hay-mulch, topsoil, fill and machinery should be evaluated for contaminants. Seeding dates should reflect the needs of seedling establishment. Enough time must be incorporated into the project to allow all participants to do their jobs well.

Clearly defined specs should exist before any solicitations occur. Specs must include species name rather than common generic name like "Goldenrod," pure live seed rates and total quantity required. If the job calls for unusual species or large quantities, call a reputable seed company and inquire about species availability. Ask about incompatibility of species within the seed mix. If substitutes might be needed, determine what substitutes will be acceptable and under what conditions. Going to bid before these steps are completed risks a corrupted bidding process, costly delays and poor performance.

The use of certified seed deserves consideration for any project. Certified seed is usually higher quality than uncertified. Generally, higher quality seed is cleaner, has greater germination potential, better seedling vigor, fewer weeds and better shelf life. Certified seed reduces the risk of introducing alien species. In seeding specs the term "certified seed" is frequently misused so bids should require "blue-tagged Certified seed." Require the blue tags be on the bags, or with a blend, require the blue tags be sent with the mix.

After seed arrives, check labels and weights for accuracy, origins and test dates. If seed is to be tested, draw samples and send them to a seed lab. Be sure you know the proper method for sampling or call a State seed inspector. Seed tests measure purity, germination and weed or crop content. Test results should be interpreted with established tolerances in mind and an understanding of factors that could skew results. Red flags on a seed test would be absence of key species in a mix, especially the rare and expensive ones, large presence of cheap or unordered species, presence of noxious weeds, or significant deviations between advertised purity /germination and test results. Tests are intended to be statements of probability and should be interpreted with care. If discrepancies appear on seed tests, ask vendor for an explanation before you form an opinion..

 

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