Master Seeds – raising certified cereal seeds standards

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The UK’s leading certified cereal seed standards have been significantly extended this season to include hybrid barley, hybrid rye and naked oats and raised with the added assurance of zero black-grass seed.

“Master Seeds has set the standard for wheat, barley and oat seed for the past 25 years, providing British growers with levels of commercial seed quality markedly above Higher Voluntary Standards (HVS) for C1, let alone C2 or EU certification,” explained Agrii national arable seed manager, Barry Barker.

“With hybrid barley now accounting for 20% of winter barley plantings and both hybrid rye and naked oat plantings increasing substantially in recent years, we felt it was time to extend our higher standards to these as well as conventional cereal seed.

“This means noticeably higher across-the-board standards for germination and impurities, in particular,” he stressed.

“For the highest levels of quality assurance, for instance, we check 2kg of seed for impurities for Master Seeds rather than the 1kg of other certifiers. For wild oats we go even further with a Bardex standard of none in 20kg rather than the 1kg. And in both hybrid barley and rye our standards for seeds of other cultivated species, seeds of other species and maximum species impurities are at least four times as onerous as any others.”

As part of the Agrii’s Stow Longa Technology Centre-led work to bear down on black-grass with the most integrated cultural controls, a zero tolerance standard for black-grass has also been set for all Master Seeds seed from this season. This contrasts with the two black-grass seeds in any 2kg of HVS C1 or C2 seed.

“Specifying black-grass separately from other weed species and setting a standard of zero is particularly important as Agrii research shows the extent to which this weed can be present in cereal seed,” Barry Barker pointed out.

“We have always focussed on keeping our seed free of black-grass. To such an extent that the head of our seed laboratory at Finmere, Graham Nicholls hasn’t found black-grass in a Master Seeds sample in over 40 years. This give us the confidence to set this completely new certified seed standard for every cereal going into our bag. It adds still further to standards recognised as the best in the business so our growers can have even more confidence in even more of their cereal seed purchases.”

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