S is for Seed — It All Starts with a Seed

My part of agriculture is crops even if I’ve been learning more about livestock in the past few years. And crops tend to start with the seed (I say tend because there are a few like olives that work off cuttings). Seed is probably the most critical decision a farmer or gardener makes in a season because the potential for a plant starts with its genetics.

How Seed Works Video

I love this video showing how seed germinates in the soil and the various parts of the seed and young plant as they grow. Yes, I’m pretty sure this makes it clear I’m a total agnerd.

Things to Consider in Buying Seed

tractor getting ready to plant When I’ve picked out seeds, it has been for containers or the raised bed I have. My decisions are usually based on the kind of plants I want — sweet basil, globe basil, etc. And even when I was working in agriculture, I wasn’t fully aware of how many choices farmers have for seed. I have written a blog post about some of the things cotton farmers have to think through when planting but looking across crops, what would be some things farmers think about before they make a purchase?

  1. What crops do they want to plant on various fields? Then they will look more specifically at each field. 
  2. How close to a market is the farm? If you need to deliver at a specific time for the market you want to be sure it is timed well. 
  3. What was planted in that field last year? That may impact various characteristics when it comes to pest resistance.
  4. What does the field go into next year too? That rotation makes a difference on both ends.
  5. What types of soils does that field have? Frequently soils can change across big areas, especially if you are near rivers. That makes a difference on water holding capacity, the soils ability to warm up or stay cool, etc.
  6. Does that field tend to have specific pest pressure like nematodes? Rootworms? Bollworms? Grasses? Broadleafs? Farmers will consider those characteristics both in conventional traits and biotech.
  7. When can you expect to be able to plant? Some varieties may be more cold tolerant than others.
  8. When do you want to harvest? With a lot of crops there is variation in length of time to maturity. Lots of farmers want to vary harvest dates so they can get to various fields as they peak.

A to Z Agriculture blog post series

T is for?

See the other posts in this series by clicking on the logo at right and reviewing the letters, or by browsing the A to Z ag tag archives. I’ve gotten some great suggestions for other letters including offers of winery tours for me to talk wine or viticulture! These folks are talking my language! 🙂 Other ideas? 

Enhanced by Zemanta

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

, , , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to S is for Seed — It All Starts with a Seed

  1. Brian April 24, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    Now that we are planting cover crops our seed decisions must reach farther into the future. Certain covers do better for a particular cash crop. So this winter before we even had 2013 seed in the shed we were planning our cover crops that will be seeded this fall. And that means we also have fields that are pretty much planned already for 2014 and the the 2013 crop season hasn’t even begun.

    Keep up the good work! Z is approaching!

    • Janice Person April 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

      I tried to touch on that but love the detail because that is what makes a difference in trying to understand how this stuff works!

      And thanks for the chin up. I’m behind but ok with that. I’m at least in the right week of letters LOL.

  2. Direct Seeding October 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    Oh my goodness i love your blog! A-Z Agriculture-related topics! What a cool way to blog! (BTW I love seeding!)

  3. kari October 11, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    how much cotton is there


  1. A is for Agriculture -- An A to Z Series about Agriculture - October 5, 2013

    […] M is for Moo N is for Nutrients O is for Olives P is for Prairie Q is for Quality R is for Reading S is for Seed T is for Tillage U is for Urban Agriculture V is for Viticulture W is for Wheat X is for Xylem Y is […]

  2. Do Farmers Have Choices? | [ j. l. d. ] Photograph Blog - December 11, 2013

    […] S is For Seed: Everything Starts with a Seed – Janice Person […]

  3. Do Farmers Have Choices? | Prairie Californian - January 3, 2014

    […] S is For Seed: Everything Starts with a Seed – Janice Person […]

  4. Plants have vascular systems? And with xylem in them? Please Explain - September 27, 2014

    […] S is for Seed – It All Starts with a Seed […]

  5. Are They Yams or Sweet Potatoes? What's the Difference Anyway? - September 27, 2014

    […] help me out. But I have worked in the seed business for 15 years and really felt that I had to say S is for Seed. BUT I LOVE sweet potatoes. Ask the folks in the company’s cafeteria…. Yes, I have […]

  6. Urban Agriculture: Progressing from Personal Gardens to Urban Farms - April 25, 2015

    […] S is for Seed – It All Starts with a Seed […]

  7. Farmers are Planning For Cotton Harvest as They are Planting Cotton - April 25, 2015

    […] S is for Seed – It All Starts with a Seed […]

What are you thinking?