Seed and Plant Handling Tips for Growers
Seeds are living organisms and improper handling or storage can greatly
reduce their performance. Seminis recommends all seed should be used in
two years or less from purchase, but the following information should
help ensure maximum shelf life potential.
High temperatures and humidity may reduce seed vigor and germination.
Therefore, seed should be stored in a cool, dry place, out of direct
sunlight and in closed containers. Seminis packs its seed at
industry-recommended moisture percentages. Containers must be kept
closed to prevent humidity from damaging the seeds. We recommend storing
untreated seed, and seed treated with fungicide at 15°C (60°F). Seed
that is either primed or treated with insecticide should be stored at
5°C (41°F) or less. Generally, every 5°C decrease of storage temperature
doubles the average shelf life of the seed.
Some seed is primed, a process that brings the seed close to the point
of germination. Priming the seed may help the seed grow, especially
under stressful conditions. Because the priming process reduces the
shelf life of seeds, primed seed should be planted in the same year it
is primed. Seminis recommends primed seed be stored at 5°C (41°F). It
should also have a germination test six months after priming and every
three months after that.
Shipping of Seed
When seed is shipped, it needs the same temperature conditions it
requires when in storage. It should not be stored near a heat source or
in direct sun. When on board a ship, seed should be stored below the
deck and away from boilers and other sources of heat. While loading and
unloading, avoid placing the seed in direct sunlight or in hot or humid
Handle Seed Carefully
Seed can be damaged by rough handling. Seeds have a hard, but fragile
coating protecting the living organism within. Corn, pea and bean seed
are especially susceptible to damage from rough handling. Bags of these
seeds should not be thrown or dropped because the seed coats and embryos
can crack, resulting in a seed that won’t develop properly.
We recommend that each seed lot have a germination test every six months
(every three months for primed seed). The germination test should be
conducted by a laboratory test under ISTA or other nationally or
internationally recognized rules. Germination results from field tests
may vary from laboratory results and should not be used for labeling.