As a fresh new pasture sowing season gets underway across Australia’s agricultural regions, growers and retailers have been urged to inform themselves about the seed they are purchasing.
As the mechanics of the sowing season crank into life this autumn, thousands of tonnes of seed will be purchased, cleaned, treated, transported and sown into the soil with huge expectations on it to deliver production and profit gains. This expectation is underpinned by the assumption that that seed is healthy, clean and ready to perform.
The Australian Seed Federation and their members take seed very seriously and encourage the agricultural industry to appreciate, value and protect the quality and authenticity of seed.
“Seed is fundamental to agriculture and represents a significant investment. We encourage growers and retailers to utilise the on-line resources of the ASF to inform themselves and get the best outcome in the paddock or for their clients,” says CEO Bill Fuller.
Growers and retailers are urged to source their seed through reputable suppliers who can provide certified seed as well as germination and purity tests. This approach is captured by the ASF’s slogan “Know Before You Sow”.
“Ask the question of your supplier. Are they a member of the ASF? Do they have the Code of Practice logo on their product? Do they provide certification and quality tests on the seed you are purchasing,” says Bill.
The ASF has freely available resources on its website to assist seed buyers. For example, the Smart from the Start checklist is a step by step reference point which provides information and guidance on many aspects including: Is it the species you want? Is it a true variety? Is a current Statement of Seed Analysis available?
Unfortunately trade of ‘cheap’, ‘non-descript’ seed persists and often leads to disappointment and false economy.
ASF member retailers are passionate about the quality safeguards and advice they provide to the industry.
ASF member John McKenzie has been a pasture agronomist for fourteen years and procures seed on behalf of Landmark. John feels strongly that growers and retailers must inform themselves and step up their professionalism when it comes to sourcing, selling and advising on seeds and varieties. “It is basically buyer beware. Inform yourself – go to the ASF website and ask questions,” says John.
“We all know of horror stories. For example a grower who obtained some cheap ‘no name’ non tested lucerne seed ‘over the fence’. After going through the trouble and expense of sowing a paddock down the agronomist was called in to investigate poor emergence. A seed test revealed the seed was low on germination and vigour which saw the establishment fail. The grower then had to go to the extra expense of re-sowing the paddock with the correct variety and certified seed. Now that is false economy,” says John.
The ASF’s online Pasture Seed Database fills a real gap in the industry providing critical information about pasture seed products by species. It identifies the intellectual property, marketing and varietal status of the various pasture seed products nominated by their Australian marketer.