Quality may be defined differently by different users, but in the seed industry, quality determinations are based on standardized testing procedures developed by organizations such as the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) and the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists (SCST). Laboratory test results are the basis for labeling seed lots as required by state and federal seed laws, for determining value for purchasing and selling seed, and for ensuring labels accurately represent the seed lot. Accuracy and uniformity in testing procedures and reporting of results are critical to the industry. The State Seed Department operates two labs to support the seed industry.
The Seed Lab is the state’s official seed testing lab and performs seed viability and purity examinations as well as other less common specialized tests that contribute to the essential understanding of seed quality. Several tests can help determine viability, but only germination percentage is recognized for labeling purposes. Purity exams conducted at the department support intra- and interstate and international commerce.
The Diagnostic Lab provides testing on two different platforms - seed health testing and genetic testing. Seed health testing evaluates seed lots for seed-borne pathogens to help reduce the infection and spread of economically important plant diseases. Genetic testing examines seed lots for the presence of specific genetic markers or the expression of specific genetic products that are inherent to the variety or are useful in determining the identity of a variety beyond the physical characteristics of the seed.