Healthy, viable seeds are the best for healthy plants. For high-yielding and disease-resistant crops, you must choose the seeds of the right breed. Seed-borne diseases can be prevented by selecting disease-free seeds.
To grow most crops, you need to have seeds. It is the part of a plant used for reproduction, planting, or regeneration purposes. A healthy crop is only possible with high-quality, healthy seeds. The selection of seeds is therefore crucial.
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A healthy crop starts with good quality, healthy seeds. High-quality seeds are essential for the cultivation of new crops. They must be carefully selected. You can buy high-quality seeds from other sources or grow your own.
To improve yields, the selection of seeds is essential. Many diseases can be transmitted through seeds. The seed-borne diseases can cause serious problems for agriculture if the seeds come from infected areas. Farmers must ensure the germination time of the seeds and the nutrients needed. For strong, healthy crops, it is essential to select high-quality seeds.
Seed sowing is an integral part of crop production. The soil is prepared, and the seeds must be scattered on the field. This is called sowing. It is important to sow seeds evenly and carefully. Overcrowding of crops can occur if seeds are not sown evenly. Avoid congested areas for enough sunlight, water, and other necessities. There are two ways to sow the seeds. Traditional sowing is usually done by hand; however, sometimes, seeds are drilled using machines.
Traditional Method of Sowing Seeds by Hands
This is the most widely used method among farmers. This is a simple process in which seeds can be scattered by hand. This is known as broadcasting and is the most cost-effective method. This is where seeds can be sown by hand or using tools. Although this is common, it is not a consistent distribution.
Seeding Using Drilling Machines
This method uses iron drills or funnels containing seeds connected to a tractor. The plow moves and seeds are spread into the furrows created by the plow. They are then covered. This is a more efficient method than the traditional one, as it distributes seeds evenly over a wide area and at different depths. This method is both labor and time-efficient.
Importance of Quality Seeds
- Stabilizes uniform maturity and growth of the plants.
- The ability to endure adverse conditions.
- Protects genetic and physical purity.
- Gives desired plant population.
- Higher yields are possible with high-quality seeds from improved varieties.
- The seedlings will be stronger, faster growing, and more resistant to disease and pests.
- The development of the root system will help in the better absorption of water and nutrients.
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Characteristics of Seed Quality
Seed quality refers to possessing seeds with the required genetic and physical purity, accompanied by physiological soundness and good health. Below are the main characteristics of seed quality.
- Genetic Purity
This is the true-to-type nature of the seed. This means that the seedling/plant/tree from the seed must look exactly like its mother. This quality characteristic is essential for reaching the desired goal of increasing the crop’s yield, resistance, or other quality factors.
- Physical Quality
It is the purity of seeds from other seeds, debris, or inert matter. The seed should be uniform in size, weight, color, and texture. It should also be free of stones, debris and dust, leaves, twigs, stems, flowers, and other crop seeds or inert materials. It should not have shriveled or diseased, mottled, discolored, or damaged seeds. Identifying the seed as belonging to a specific species should be easy. This quality character can indirectly affect the field establishment and seed planting value. This quality can be achieved with seed lots through proper cleaning and grading (processing) of the seed after collection.
- Physiological Quality
This is the actual expression and multiplication of the seed. The physiological quality characteristics of seeds include seed germination and seed vigor. Viability is the measure of a seed’s ability to live. Germination is the ability of a seed to produce a good seedling or a seed with normal root and shoot growth under favorable conditions. Seed vigor refers to the ability of a seed to produce elite seedlings. It is the sum of all attributes of a seed that allows it to regenerate under any conditions. The seed vigor determines the level of performance of seed and lot during germination, seedling emergence, and in the future.
Quality seed is those that perform well when sowing. The level of performance determines it in producing elite seedlings. Seed vigor refers to the difference in how the seed reacts to the degrading process before it can germinate. Seed vigor can be measured in terms of the rate, uniformity, and loss of seed germination. Not all viable seeds must be germinable, but all germinable seeds will be viable. All vigorous seeds can germinate, but not all germinable seeds need to be vigorous.
Proper selection of seeds (matured seeds) for sowing and proper care during drying, extraction, and storage could improve the physiology of the seed. Good vigor seed is better for growing a productive plantation. The fruits and the financial return are only possible after many years. To finalize plantation, selecting seeds according to seed vigor is essential.
- Seed Health
The health status of the seed is determined by the absence of fungal or insect infestations. Infestation with insects or fungi in seeds will decrease the seed’s physiological quality and physical quality in long-term storage. Low vigor is another indicator of the seed’s health. Seed quality character directly influences their health and is warranted for soundness in seed to produce elite seedlings at field or nursery.
Therefore, quality seeds should have:
- High genetic purity
- High physical purity
- High germinability
- High level of vigor
- Higher field establishment
- Pest and disease free
- According to the specifications of the variety, good shape, size, color, etc.
- High shelf life and longevity
- Proper moisture content