How do you decide when it’s time to plant?
Do you rely on the calendar? Check the look and feel of the soil? Follow your neighbor’s lead?
Because spring weather conditions are often unpredictable, the secret to success is probably in your seed. Bottom line – some corn and soybean seeds can germinate and thrive in cold, wet planting soils… but others cannot.
Cold saturation testing is one way to determine if your seed will be able to survive potentially harsh weather conditions. Conducted in a laboratory setting, the tests evaluate seed strength by simulating the cold wet conditions of the planting season. Strong seeds will germinate, emerge and grow well, while weaker seeds will not germinate or will have a slower germination and growth in response to stress.
According to the Indiana Crop Improvement Association, the tests are conducted by layering ¼” of soil on top of two germ towels wrapped around a plastic grid and laid in a tray – to which 500 mL of water is added to keep the soil at 100 percent saturation. Two hundred seeds are split between two trays, planted with the embryo facing down – being careful not to push the seed too far into the soil. The trays should be kept in a cold room for seven days at 50 degrees and then in a warm germinator for 4 days at 73 degrees.
The result – seed profiles that will help you make informed planting decisions that will ensure good crop health and maximum yields.
If you would like more information about cold saturation testing, please feel free to contact Gregg or me.
You can also talk to your agronomist or visit the Indiana Crop Improvement Association at www.indianacrop.org.