Seed quality can be impacted by certain diseases that were prevalent during the growing season. Producers should take certain steps when sowing lower quality wheat to help achieve a good stand.
Fusarium head blight can result in reduced germination for wheat seeds and make reading a germination test much more difficult. Having your seed professionally tested for germination is always a good practice and highly recommended when Fusarium head blight was prevalent.
Wheat that has been stressed by drought and extreme heat can have seed quality concerns. Drought conditions were prolonged in many areas of Kansas through most of the winter and spring in 2022, causing stress to plants through early grain filling stages. In addition, extreme heat occurred during the four-day period of May 9-12, which coincided with boot, flowering, pollination, and early grain fill stages depending on the area within Kansas.
Producers should plant the best quality seed possible this fall to get good emergence, early season vigor, and yield potential. Certified seed is the best option, but keeping their own seeds can also result in good performance next season provided that the seed is coming from a well-managed field and is well cleaned and conditioned.
Producers may be anxious this year to find out the germination percent of the wheat they harvest to see if it will make suitable seed. For the most accurate results, read this article for the proper steps to take before conducting home tests or sending to a certified testing lab.
It is important for farmers to understand the regulations in place when saving seed to plant in subsequent years. The consequences of planting illegal seed can be substantial. This article explains the importance of knowing where your seed is from and how to be in compliance.
Some producers may be anxious this year to find out the germination percent of the wheat they harvest, to see if it will make suitable seed. Testing the seed too soon after harvest will affect the accuracy of the test. At-home testing is an option but professional testing is recommended for wheat that experienced stress during grain filling.
Beyond the standard germination test, most professional seed testing labs offer an Accelerated Aging test that will test the seed for anticipated emergence vigor. This test is very capable of identifying weak seed lots where there are issues with Fusarium head scab; heating in the bin; smaller, development-stressed seeds; or are more than a year old.