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Have your agronomic questions answered by a Farm Journal agronomist. E-mail us directly at TestPlots@FarmJournal.com, and we’ll respond on this blog to provide an interactive dialogue.

What Can I Do To Improve My Seed Corn Germination?

Jul 05, 2011

Question: I had some problems with my seed corn germinating this year that I’m not sure how to prevent in the future. Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated.

Answer:  There are a variety of reasons you may have had problems—mechanical issues, how the seed was handled prior to or at planting or even the seed quality—any of those factors can have an impact on germination.  It’s always the farmer’s responsibility to know as much about the seed they purchase as possible, which can help minimize the potential germination problems. If you’re concerned about seed quality, you might consider investing in some seed testing of some of your seed lots next year to determine the expected germination of the products you purchase. There are three different tests that growers often invest in: cold germination, saturated cold germination and the pericarp damage test. Check with your local Extension office to determine where you might have such tests conducted in your area. If you wonder how to prioritize the seed you want to evaluate for germination quality, some potential candidates would include:
  • Discounted seed
  • Seed from suppliers you question
  • Seed you plan to plant first, probably in your coldest soils
  • Seed that will be planted in tough soils where the fields have a history of emergence and disease issues.
 
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