Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association
Some plant species have seeds that delay germination for several weeks to many months. This phenomenon, known as seed dormancy, is a condition that prevents seed germination under normal environmental conditions. Seed dormancy is especially prevalent in small grain seed. Seed dormancy influencing field emergence is variable and not easily predictable. There are three major factors that affect seed dormancy.
Due to dormancy, small grain seed may not germinate properly when planted immediately after harvest. This is especially problematic when fall planting of recent harvest. In particular the oat species requires time to overcome its dormancy period. Furthermore, different oat varieties exhibit varying potential for seed dormancy. Environmental factors such as soil moisture and soil temperature also affect seed germination. To have proper germination, oat seed grows best when planted under cooler temperatures of either spring or late summer. Planting during the Wisconsin mid-summer heat may cause slow or improper germination. To minimize the effect of seed dormancy, consideration should be given to planting dates which allow as much time as possible between seed harvest and planting while providing the probability of lower soil temperatures.
The WCIA laboratory pre chills small grains warm germination samples to ensure that the warm germination result is not affected by seed dormancy. However, an option is extended to Producers.
Warm And Pre-Chill Germination
Some small grain species have seeds that delay germination for several weeks to many months. This phenomenon, known as seed dormancy, prevents seed germination under normal conditions. Seed dormancy is variable and is influenced by variety, environment, and time. To break seed dormancy, the WCIA laboratory pre-chills new crop small grain seed samples when performing warm germination tests. The pre-chilling adds 3 to 5 days to obtain the warm germination test result. Since time has value, the WCIA Board of Directors initiated the option of having Producers request if they do not wish to have their sample pre-chilled. If the Producer does not request specifically, the laboratory will continue to perform pre-chilled warm germination tests on new crop small grain seed samples. Producers can request that both pre-chill and normal warm germination tests can be performed simultaneously at the added cost.
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