The humid summer has caused challenges with small grain seed quality. We are receiving reports of low germination and low test weight. This is negatively affecting the availability of quality cover crop seed in the state and is causing the seed prices to rise to unknown heights.
If you are planning on buying cover crop seed it is important that you do so quickly or there might not be any available.
If you use bin-run seed you should do a germination test and correct for the germination and purity. To determine seeding rate you should divide the desired seeding rate by the % pure live seed to get the needed seed per acre. Pure live seed is the product of purity x germination. So if you have 90% purity (10% of the weight is foreign material or weed seeds), and 60% germination, your PLS = 0.90 x 0.60 = 0.54 = 54%. If the desired seeding rate of live seed is 100 lbs/A, you should plant 100/0.54 = 185 lbs/A.
Although some of the seed may carry scab disease, this is not likely to cause scab in the following crop, so actually, planting poor quality seed may be a good use of bin-run low quality seed as long as you correct for poor germination. While bin-run seed can be used on your own farm without a problem, you have to make sure you follow the laws of Pennsylvania regarding seed sales.
If you sell seed to another person you become a seed distributor and you need to apply for a seed license, which is $25 per calendar year. In addition, you need to get a germination/purity test done by a seed lab. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture can do that for you for a $32 fee. You have to properly label the seed that you sell. If you have any questions regarding the Seed Act contact Johnny Zook at PDA at 717-787-4894.