Farm saved seed

FarmerBruce

Member
Location
Yorkshire
For how many years is is ok to save the same seed? Does it lose vigour after the first year? And is it possible to test for smut and the likes to avoid SP dressing? Thanks
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
Yes, it's ok to farm save for years but your seed hygiene will have to be excellent or you'll multiply the off types & any weeds. You might want to get it electrophoresis tested occasionally for varietal purity. Places like NIAB offer testing services. I get all my farm saved seed tested for germination, thousand grain weight and disease but I'm only keeping it for one or two generations. It's not expensive if you're sowing a decent area of that batch as it is diluted well. My conventional oilseed rape worked out at less than 1/3 the cost of a bought in hybrid even at a bold seed rate. That's not cleaned or dressed farm saved, just out of an IBC filled by the combine then drawn on for a couple of years.

Of course if it's only for feed grain some off types might not be a problem & arguably you'll be selecting the seeds that suit your farm the best if you clean it hard. Cereals are self pollinating but oilseeds are open pollinating, so you risk cross pollination with brassica weeds and raising contaminants like erucic acid & glucosinolates.
 

FarmerBruce

Member
Location
Yorkshire
Yes, it's ok to farm save for years but your seed hygiene will have to be excellent or you'll multiply the off types & any weeds. You might want to get it electrophoresis tested occasionally for varietal purity. Places like NIAB offer testing services. I get all my farm saved seed tested for germination, thousand grain weight and disease but I'm only keeping it for one or two generations. It's not expensive if you're sowing a decent area of that batch as it is diluted well. My conventional oilseed rape worked out at less than 1/3 the cost of a bought in hybrid even at a bold seed rate. That's not cleaned or dressed farm saved, just out of an IBC filled by the combine then drawn on for a couple of years.

Of course if it's only for feed grain some off types might not be a problem & arguably you'll be selecting the seeds that suit your farm the best if you clean it hard. Cereals are self pollinating but oilseeds are open pollinating, so you risk cross pollination with brassica weeds and raising contaminants like erucic acid & glucosinolates.
Thanks. We always save wheat and osr seed but only do it for one year. I’ve a couple of varieties in the ground that were saved last year that I would like to save again, as I didn’t buy any new seed last year
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
Thanks. We always save wheat and osr seed but only do it for one year. I’ve a couple of varieties in the ground that were saved last year that I would like to save again, as I didn’t buy any new seed last year
Just get it tested. From memory, NIAB charged me £115/sample for my spring barley. Germ, TGW and a couple of common seed diseases. That pays for the saving vs bought in and even treating home saved. If had a better setup I wouldn't even need my cereals cleaned & bagged for £39/t.
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
Other seed testers are available.

Top tip - send your seed to Scottish labs if you need the results in a hurry during harvest. Their harvest starts later than England, therefore their testing workload too. ;)
 

rob1

Member
Location
wiltshire
I think that would be fine. You will know the cleanest parts and the best seed to keep.
And any weeds are your own, when we started growing corn in the mid 80's mostt of our fields hadnt had any corn since WW2 yet despite buying seed from one of tthe "big" companies withing a couple of years we had loads of wild oats, taken a long time to get rid of most of them
 

FarmerBruce

Member
Location
Yorkshire
What are all the diseases that need testing for if trying to do away with SP dressing? And is there nothing in the soil that can cause these diseases to occur even if the grain tests are disease free?
This is for wheat and osr I am most interested in. Thanks
 

B'o'B

Member
Location
Rutland
What are all the diseases that need testing for if trying to do away with SP dressing? And is there nothing in the soil that can cause these diseases to occur even if the grain tests are disease free?
This is for wheat and osr I am most interested in. Thanks
Bunt, seedling blight, loose smut, fusarium are the main ones. It is because bunt and loose smut can build from very low levels to infect whole seed lots over a couple of growing cycles that makes seed testing important.
You can end up with your whole wheat area coming out in ear like this...
AD118513-16DC-43BD-9AC4-A4E07E3F4309.jpeg
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
Yes, it's ok to farm save for years but your seed hygiene will have to be excellent or you'll multiply the off types & any weeds. You might want to get it electrophoresis tested occasionally for varietal purity.
As a feed grower I wonder if varietal purity should be viewed as a negative not a positive... having more diverse genetics within the crop might actually help suppress some diseases.....
 

Hindsight

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
What are all the diseases that need testing for if trying to do away with SP dressing? And is there nothing in the soil that can cause these diseases to occur even if the grain tests are disease free?
This is for wheat and osr I am most interested in. Thanks
A few laboratories provide seed testing service - if you ask them they will explain the package and which tests are relevant for wheat and barley. Cost per sample is upto around £120 for complete package. Sensible approach if you are new to home saving seed, especially if intend doing so without using any fungicide dressing.
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
As a feed grower I wonder if varietal purity should be viewed as a negative not a positive... having more diverse genetics within the crop might actually help suppress some diseases.....
If you’re talking about malting barley it’s a big issue. Variety purity is much more important. For feed grain you’re right - in theory disease levels should be at the highest common denominator not the lowest. Put a rust susceptible variety a foot away from its neighbour with more resistant cultivars in between and you should have a better microclimate.
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
If you’re talking about malting barley it’s a big issue. Variety purity is much more important. For feed grain you’re right - in theory disease levels should be at the highest common denominator not the lowest. Put a rust susceptible variety a foot away from its neighbour with more resistant cultivars in between and you should have a better microclimate.
Maybe it is time someone started marketing feed wheat seed blends...
 

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