Carrying Over Seed from One Year to the Next

Our thanks to Pioneer for the following tips:

Buy Ahead to Circumvent Rising Costs?

Rising costs of inputs including fuel, fertilizer and herbicides have some growers considering purchasing and taking delivery of seed today, for next year. While this may appear to offer a financial advantage, it’s important growers are aware of the effects improper storage can have on seed quality. The following information from Pioneer Agronomy Sciences explains the importance of proper storage, and losses that can occur when seed is not stored properly.

Importance of Proper Storage of Seed

  • To maintain optimum physiological quality, seed should be stored at 12.5% moisture at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • For every 10 degree increase in storage temperature, the shelf life of seed can be reduced by up to 50%.
    • Seed not kept below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can experience reduced germination and vigor in the field.
    • Seed stored above 50 degrees is also more susceptible to insect damage because insects are more active at higher temperatures.
  • For every one percent increase above 12.5% in stored seed moisture, shelf life can be reduced by up to 50%.
  • When seed imbibes water, it goes through a process of repairing DNA. Seed that has not been kept in cold storage has more DNA to repair, which in turn reduces vigor.
  • Complex interactions with insecticide seed treatments (ISTs) may also impact seed quality. In general, if seed is going out of condition for other reasons, the IST accelerates the decline, especially under suboptimum storage conditions.

In addition to these items, federal seed laws require retesting and retagging of seed each year. As a result, seed carried over on the farm cannot be warranted by Pioneer. Such seed is also not eligible for Pioneer replant protection in the event of hail, flooding, insect damage or any other cause of stand reduction or loss.

Pioneer® brand seed corn returned to local sales rep warehouses (above) is immediately transferred to climate-controlled storage to ensure that conditions are maintained for optimum seed quality.

Pioneer Quality Standards

Pioneer is a leader in seed quality due to its testing procedures and high quality standards. Pioneer doesn’t depend on a single germination test, but rather tests seed lots multiple times throughout the year. Beyond multiple standard germination tests, Pioneer also conducts a regimen of vigor tests before seed is shipped to the customer to ensure that it is meeting quality standards. Pioneer uses rigorous methods to collect representative, non-biased samples from each lot for testing.

Bottom Line

The risks of reduced quality, a voided warranty and stand reductions that reduce yield far outweigh the perceived savings of buying seed today with intentions of carrying it over to the following year.

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