Field trials prove that bigger seeds are in fact better

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Independent field trials conducted by SGS, a world-leading testing and certification company, on behalf of the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC), have shown that bigger seeds are better for growers. 

The NAAC say that their field trial results support the seed processors long held belief that larger seeds demonstrate significantly higher vigour, emergence, crop height and rooting weight.

Apparently, NAAC processors suspected that seed size was influential but there was a lack of independent research. However, the NAAC later commission scientific glass house trials of winter wheat and spring barley, in 2020, after initial processor trials in Cornwall indicated a link.

With their most recent results, the NAAC say this discovery will be particularly important coming into autumn and spring, for risk management purposes, while it will also support growers with unabating input costs.

However, while results suggest that larger seeds will perform better, the NAAC add that growers will need to optimise the seed’s growing conditions too; so future benefits of applying fertiliser and other inputs can be maximised.

NAAC seed section chairman Richard Jones said: “Our results clearly show the benefits of using quality processed farm saved seed, selected for size, to balance cost and output. By selecting the largest seed sizes, growers can help their crop get well-established and ahead, to potentially benefit from higher yields in the final harvest.”

The table below lists the initial results of the field trials:

Source: NAAC


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Journalist. Graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English and Art History. When not working I can be found riding my horses on the Ashdown Forest, reading, shopping, or cooking!