Seed Lab Report

Confidence Building

Seed Lab Annual Report by Steve Beals - Director

The lab continues to add to the accreditations of its staff.  Brittany Whitsitt, RST, attended a Canadian Seed Grader Workshop training and testing session that was held in July 2019. Brittany passed all 6 seed categories and was granted accreditation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency administered through the USDA-AMS.   Brittany is US-Accredited Canadian Seed Grader No. 7034.  Eunsoo Choe, PhD attended the Federal Seed Lab Seed School that was held in August 2019.  At the conclusion of the seed school, Eunsoo took the Registered Seed Technologist exams.  

Read more: Confidence Building

Seed Quality Update

Seed Lab Update by Steve Beals 

Corn germination results have been strong this testing season with an average of 95.6% across Illinois. The corn cold test averages are higher this testing season than last year at 93.4% across all regions. The average soybean germination for this testing season is 92.3% across all regions. Last year the soybean germination average was 83.2%. The average pod and stem blight infection thus far is 1.30% across all regions. Last year at this time, we were seeing an average of 7.34% infection. The soybean cold test average is slightly higher than what we saw last year at this time with an average of 87.4% compared to 84.2%. The soybean seed counts are showing a decrease in the size of soybean seed size this year with an average of 2,779 seeds per pound. Below is a chart of germination averages by region.

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Fusarium in Wheat

Seed Lab Report by Steve Beals, RST - Seed Lab Director

Fusarium Prevalent in the 2019 Wheat Production
2019 has proven to be a challenge this year with many of the cereal crops that have been sent into the seed lab for germination testing showing significant amounts of Fusarium. The severity of infection varies field by field indicating that this year’s wet weather was a factor. We have found that seed treatment has been beneficial for some seed lots and that planting in sand has helped improve the germination. However, with the sand germination, we do not record Abnormal seedlings (they are included with dead seed), and we do not give a fusarium reading for the sample. The seed treatment that we have been using in the lab, unless we have a specific request, has been Mertect 340-F (ia. Thiabendazole). Attached is a chart that shows the 2019 Wheat germination averages for the regions of the state.

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No "Cure-All"

Seed Lab Report by Steve Beals, RST – Seed Lab Director

Germination results for the 2018 seed corn crop were excellent and in the range that we have been seeing over the past few years. Soybean germination results showed a significant amount of disease pressure (Phomopsis) due to the 2018 harvest conditions. Seed producers turned to fungicide seed treatments looking for a cure. As a result of testing various fungicide products and utilizing several testing methods, no "cure-all" was identified. Determining the best course of action was done on a lot by lot, case by case, basis. In some cases, where fungi were controlled by seed treatments, signs of mechanical damage were revealed as an additional complication. This year's soybean seed quality challenges prompted Prairie Farmer Magazine to contact me for an interview to discuss the issues that we had seen in the lab. I was also contacted by RFD-TV for an interview which aired on Wednesday, February 6. I was truly honored to be interviewed and to have the opportunity to promote the IL Crop Improvement Seed Laboratory.

Read more: No "Cure-All"

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