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Purchasing Quality Forage Seed

By: Al Foster, Regional Forage Specialist, Tisdale

Purchasing high quality seed provides you with many benefits, including minimum requirement for pure live seed and reduced weed seed content, both of which influence establishment, yield and forage quality.

The federal Canada Seeds Act outlines seed quality standards in Canada. All seed that has been graded according to the Act will have a seed testing certificate. This certificate contains information about the crop kind and grade. It also includes information on weed seed content, germination, hard seed content and the date of analysis. Ask for a copy of the seed testing certificate with any seed you purchase in to see this information and determine the quantities and type of all weed seeds present.

Certified is the pedigreed grade that is normally seeded for forage production. It is sold as named varieties. Certified seed will have disease resistance, quality and winter hardiness characteristics true to that variety.

Cost needs to be considered, but shouldn’t always be the primary consideration when purchasing forage seed. Quality seed is one of the keys to the establishment of a productive, long-lived forage stand. When amortized over the life of an average forage stand, the increased cost of certified seed is often minimal compared to the advantages of fewer weed seeds, and known purity and varietal traits.

For more information on this or other forage topics, please contact your local Saskatchewan Agriculture Regional Office.

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