The following information is required on a bag of quality seed:

  • The variety name.
  • The germination percentage with the date of the germination test performed within the last nine months.
  • Pure seed information and other purity information pertaining to seed.
  • The name of the individual or company issuing the seed guarantee.
  • The lot number for the seed.
"Farmers are looking for every way possible to decrease cost and increase production but purchasing seed without a quality guarantee is not the place to start," said Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell.

The Mississippi Seed Testing Laboratory has heard complaints from farmers who have purchased seed that doesn't have the information required by the pure seed law. In most of these cases, the individual selling the seed is in violation of the law. In some cases, the person buying the seed is purchasing seed that is "patent-protected." (A third party illegally selling seed protected by a company patent is in violation of the seed law.)

"In the majority of these cases, it is the farmer that loses when this seed doesn't perform as expected," Spell said.

If seed is purchased by farmers in normal marketing channels, a chain of information is established that can be followed through company records that can go all the way back to the grower.

The purchase of quality seed, in addition to planting a variety that meets the farming management operation and the environmental conditions, is a step in the right direction, Spell added.

Lee Daughtry is director of the Mississippi Seed Testing Laboratory.

e-mail: Lee@mdac.state.ms.us