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.
Gary Cook Retires
Congratulations to Gary Cook, who has retired after 41 years and 7 months of service. Gary retired on August 2, 2019. Gary joined Illinois Crop Improvement on December 1, 1976. Gary completed his education at Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL. Gary had a brief employment stent at Mountjoy Hybrid Seed Company as a Field Technician. Over the last forty plus years Gary has held several different positions in the Seed Laboratory at IL Crop. His positions include; Lab Technician, Senior Lab Technician, Germination Supervisor, Lab Supervisor, Lab Director, and Chief Analyst. Gary has also helped with field inspection duties and seed sampling for more than 20 years earlier in his career. Gary performed a variety of seed tests while working in the seed lab. He specialized in purity analysis on a wide variety of seeds. Some of Gary’s interests include invasive species in the plant kingdom, cover crop research and testing, and native species seed establishment. Soybean visual varietal purity is also a special interest, as well as the experimental development of new crop kinds for grain, oil and conservation purposes. Gary resides on a 40 acre homestead in Dewitt county Illinois. The acreage is used for wildlife conservation, fruit and vegetable production and native plant establishment. Invasive species control in native woodlots experiments are conducted on a regular basis. The most common invasive species are Bush Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, and Honey Locust. Thank you, Gary for the years of dedicated service to IL Crop and the seed industry. We hope that Gary has a long and enjoyable retirement.
New Employees in the Seed Lab
The seed lab has been growing, changing and welcoming new hires to meet the needs of its customers. We are proud to announce three new full-time staff members to the team. Dawn Gerling, Seed Analyst, will be assisting our germination and purity sections. Dawn began working part time for IL Crop in September 2016. Alex Chenoweth, Lab Technician, will be assisting in the germination section and general lab duties. Alex has worked part time for the lab since August 2014. Katie Reagan, Lab Technician, will be assisting in the germination section and she will be expanding into other technical areas within the lab. Katie began working in the lab in May 2019. We have several new part time employees in the lab to help with the numerous species that are submitted to the seed lab for testing.