Official seed testing
Testing for seed germination, seed lot purity and other seed related tests are also carried out at the Official Seed Testing Station, Crossnacreevy. All tests are conducted according to International Seed Testing Association regulations and so are validated tests.
The procedures and time scales for the tests depend on the agricultural, horticultural or amenity species being tested:
- Variety identity testing using plant morphological characteristics is available for ryegrasses (Lolium sp) and white clovers (Trifolium repens). Comparisons can be made against the current EU Common Catalogue of varieties in these species. Tests can take up to four years depending on how detailed a description is required. An estimate of relative grass heading date or clover flowering date is completed within two years, while a full description and comparison against the Common Catalogue varieties can take up to four years.
- Variety identity testing using protein electrophoresis or molecular methods is available for most forage grasses and involves comparing band patterns between unknown and control samples to determine if they match or whether they present a genetic difference.
- Variety end-use evaluation on crops and crop products is available for most crop and forage species that are likely to be adapted to Northern Irish growing conditions. Tests are performed using the trial fields at Crossnacreevy and at a number of off-station sites utilized as part of the annual variety evaluation trials. Information on yield and quality characteristics can be provided.
- Tests for specialist attributes can be designed to meet customer needs and information can be generated on the adaptability of the plant material in delivering its end-use potential under local growing conditions.