In many cases, producers could be scrambling to find good seed for next year. Bruce Carriere of Discovery Seeds in Saskatoon says that in his 19 years in business he’s never seen anything quite so ugly. Germination and vigor are low; disease is high. For instance, on red lentils, fewer than 10 per cent of the samples he has seen have a germination that’s over 90 per cent and a lot of those good samples are carryover from the 2009 crop. Discovery Seeds does a saturated cold test for seed vigor. It’s typical for the vigor number to be seven or eight percentage points lower than the germination, but if you get an 80 per cent germ and only 60 per cent on vigor, the seed could be trouble. In addition to ascochyta and sclerotinia, many lentil samples are also showing high levels of botrytis. As Carriere points out, increasing the seeding rate to compensate for a poor germination will mean even more disease going into the ground. There are seed treatments, but in Carriere’s words, a seed treatment can’t rescue garbage seed. On wheat, the lab is seeing the highest fusarium counts ever, even in areas that aren’t noted for fusarium. All the seed labs are all going to be very busy this winter as producers test and re-test trying to find planting seed with decent quality.

I’m Kevin Hursh.

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