Producers Should ConsiderImportance of
Seed Quality Before Planting The 2005 Crop

Friday, January 28,2005                          By Shawn Wade

      With the 2004 crop notthree-quarters of the way through being ginned, it seems strange to think aboutplanting seed quality and finalizing plans for 2005. A quick look at thecalendar however, shows that it is more than just time to start thinking alongthese lines.

      With February just around thecorner, planting time on the High Plains is barely 10-12 weeks away for growersthat intend to roll planters on or before May 1.

      With the calendar in mind,growers should strive to plant the highest quality seed possible. Taking theextra time to determine the quality of the planting seed you have in the bagcan make a tremendous impact on the way the crop starts.

      For growers purchasingCertified seed from a dealer, an early request for the standard warm and coolgermination tests performed by the seed company (usually available uponrequest) is a good place to start. If available, the results of a Cool-WarmVigor Index (CWVI) test, which combines the results of a standard warmgermination test and the cool germination test, will give the best indicationof the overall quality of the seed.

      Seed company representativesindicate that, even though very little of the 2005 planting seed supply wasproduced on the High Plains, adequate supplies of good quality seed for mostvarieties are expected to be available.

      If using farmer caught seed,growers are encouraged to take a couple of essential steps to determine seedquality before planting seed saved from the 2004 crop.

      Texas Cooperative Extensionhas recently released the publication “Check Your Seed Quality Before YouPlant in 2005” togive cotton growers an idea of the steps they can take to ensure they get thehighest quality 2005 planting seed.

      Step one for growers optingto go with farmer caught, conventional seed in 2005 is to have a Free FattyAcid (FFA) test performed on each lot of 2004 fuzzy cottonseed.

      To put together a good randomsample 8-10 sub-samples from each lot are suggested. Approximately one quart ofseed should be pulled at each sample location. The sub-samples should then becombined thoroughly and a final two-pound sample pulled out for FFA testing.

      Apparently only one areafacility, A&L Plains Laboratories (806-763-4278) in Lubbock, is known toperform FFA testing. TCE indicates that the A&L Plains Laboratories’ feefor the test is $15 per sample with a 1-2 day turnaround time.

      FFA test results greater than1-1.5 percent indicate seed quality is suspect and should not be used forplanting purposes.

      Seed lots with FFA results ofless than 1 percent however, are candidates for planting seed and should have astandard set of germination tests performed by the Texas Department ofAgriculture Seed Lab in Lubbock (806-799-0519).

      Suggested tests to haveconducted at the TDA lab include a warm germination test ($9 per sample) and acool germination test ($12 per sample). It is advisable to get these testsstarted as soon as possible. The tests take several days to conduct and a2-week turnaround time should be anticipated.

      Standard warm and coolgermination tests can be performed on fuzzy seed to speed the process up. It isimportant to remember however, that the germination percentages derived forfuzzy seed usually increase after delinting and gravity table separation. It isnot unusual to see germination percentages change as much as 10-20 percentafter these processes are completed.

      Finally, it is recommendedthat a CWVI test be performed on farmer caught seed to insure the highestquality possible. The CWVI test can be performed by the TDA Seed Lab, at a costof $21 per sample and also takes about two weeks to complete. A one-poundsample of acid delinted seed is required to perform the test.

      Adding the results of thestandard warm germination test (counted at 4 days) and the cool germinationtest provides the CWVI test result. Seed quality can be rated based on the CWVIresult as follows: Excellent = 160 or greater; Good = 140-159; Fair = 120-139;and, Poor = Less than 120.

      By pulling together acomplete picture of their 2005 planting seed supply, either from the seedcompany that is supplying Certified planting seed or by fully testing farmercaught seed to insure maximum quality, growers can plan their 2005 plantingactivity and increase the odds of establishing healthy stands from their 2005planting seed.

      It is no surprise that higherquality seed should be used on acres planted earlier in the season whenconditions are less than optimal. Weaker seed should not be planted untilconditions improve.

      For more information about cottonseed quality and management take a look at the publications available on theLubbock Texas Agricultural Research and Extension Center website at:


January/February Cotton MeetingSchedule


Jan. 31 -      Moore County CottonProduction Meeting, CEU’s – 3

           8:00 a.m,, Dumas Lions Club Building

Feb. 7 - Deaf Smith County Cotton Conference, CEU’s – 3

           8:00 a.m., Hereford Community Building, Hereford

Feb. 9 - Terry County Ag Conference and Trade Show, CEU’s –3

           8:00 a.m., Nikki Vinson Youth Center (110 East Hill Street)


Feb. 10 -      Sandyland AgConference, CEU’s - 5

           8:00 a.m., Gaines County Civic Building, Seminole

Feb. 11 -      Hale/SwisherCounties Cotton Conf., CEU’s - 5

           8:30 a.m., Ollie Liner Center, Plainview

Feb. 11 -      Crosby/FloydCounties Alt. Crops Meeting, CEU’s -3

           8:00 a.m., Community Room (301 Van Buren), Lorenzo