Heavier yields from healthier seeds
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CTA. 1988. Heavier yields from healthier seeds. Spore 18. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44970
Crops thrive best when given a good start in life. For those crops which are normally propagated by seed, every effort must be made to keep pathogens at bay, at least until the crop is well-established. Obvious though this is, farmers throughout the...
Crops thrive best when given a good start in life. For those crops which are normally propagated by seed, every effort must be made to keep pathogens at bay, at least until the crop is well-established. Obvious though this is, farmers throughout the world have, in the past, tended to underestimate the value of using pathogen-free seeds. Severe, even total, crop losses often arise from the presence of pathogens in the seed. Increasingly, farmers are demanding higher quality seed; and high quality seed must always be disease-free. To establish standards, most countries have introduced comprehensive seed certification schemes. To maintain these standards, seed testing stations have been established. These stations are responsible for issuing certificates which give buyers and sellers an accurate indication of quality. Nowadays, the seed trade is very much an international business, and there is a consequent need for some standardization of seed testing methodologies. Seed testing stations must be capable of identifying a wide range of pests, including insects, viruses, bacteria, fungi and nematodes. They also need to be able to detect mycotoxins (poisonous substances produced by fungi) which can affect seed viability, germination and vigour. National crop improvement programmes, most of which are assisted by the International Agricultural Research Centres, rely heavily of the storage and exchange of plant germplasm, usually in the form of seeds. The risks of transferring seed-borne pathogens in such exchanges are high. The international seed trade increases the problem still further, hence the need for adequate seed certification and quarantine procedures at both national and international levels In order to advance the development of such procedures, CTA, in collaboration with the Danish Government's Institute of Seed Pathology for Developing Countries, held a seminar on the topic in June 1988 in Denmark. Seed experts familiar with the latest methodologies for detection and control of seed-borne pathogens, met to discuss recent progress with seed pathologists from 20 ACP countries. The meeting concluded that the need to increase awareness of the importance of using diseasefree seed was as great as ever; too many farmers continue to underestimate the dangers of not doing so. Seed pathologists in ACP countries would benefit from improved training opportunities so as to increase the standard of seed testing generally. The ACP participants felt that a newsletter for the exchange of relevant information would assist them to achieve the higher quality standards that must be pursued.