July 29, 2008 in Uncategorized
With the high cost of seed, farmers are saving wheat, barley, and other small grain crops such as rye and oats for replanting. The following are some considerations in saving small grain seed.
Those farmers interested in saving wheat or other small grain seed for fall planting should have that seed conditioned prior to summer storage and fall planting. Several seed companies in the area can condition the seed for you. Seed conditioning involves cleaning, removal of low weight seed, treating with insecticides and fungicides, and then bagging (small bags or large bulk bags).
One of the main challenges to saving wheat seed is preventing insect damage. By treating seed you can reduce this risk and preserve seed quality.
You should also have the seed tested for germination once it has been conditioned. The Delaware Department of Agriculture Seed Lab will do this for free.
Farmers are allowed to plant back their own acreage with seed protected by the Federal Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA). But the PVPA does prevent a farmer from selling protected seed.
A separate rule applies to seed that is patented by a private company. Currently Pioneer does patent several of its wheat varieties. Pioneer reserves the right to prohibit a farmer from replanting its seed which has a patent. This is enforceable by Pioneer exclusively and you should check to see if that seed has a patent before saving seed.
Gordon Johnson, Extension Agriculture Agent, UD, Kent County