HEAVY summer rainfall through parts of the southern cropping region could impact on the viability of grain that growers are planning to retain for sowing in 2017.
Any grain subjected to wetting at harvest is more susceptible to poor germination, low vigour and degradation during storage and handling.
Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Regional Panel member Kate Wilson encourages growers to closely scrutinise seed being set aside for planting.
Mrs Wilson, a grain grower and agronomic consultant in Victoria’s Mallee, said it was essential that growers determined whether damage to grain caused by rain at harvest was purely cosmetic or the symptom of a seed-borne disease which would impact on germination.
“To ensure establishment of a healthy crop next season, it is important to pay particular attention to the seed that is being saved for sowing. Proper management of the seed starts at harvest and should continue right through to storage, handling and seeding next year,” she said.
Mrs Wilson said growers should also be aware that some cereal varieties were more susceptible to the effects of late season weather damage.
For example, the imidazolinone-tolerant Kord CL PlusACF2386 wheat is rated as being susceptible to pre-harvest sprouting.
To assist growers in determining whether grain is viable for sowing and what is an appropriate and effective seed management program, the GRDC offers a detailed Retaining Seed fact sheet.
The fact sheet, which can be viewed and downloaded via www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-Retainingseed, states that the symptoms of seed quality deterioration can range from mild, such as a loose and wrinkled seed coat in some pulses, to more advanced, such as seed staining, fungal mould and visible signs of germination.