When it comes to any farming activity, selecting the right seed is highly crucial. Good quality developed seeds ensure a higher yield. In addition, it ensures fewer pest attacks. The Seed certification program recognizes four classes of seeds- the Nucleus Seed, the Breeder Seed, the Foundation Seed, and the Registered or Certified Seed. The Registered Seed is a category that represents the advancing generations of seed production.
Did you know? The establishment of the National Seeds Corporation in 1963 marked the beginning of field evaluation and registration of the seed crop. After that, the Enactment of the first Indian Seed Act in 1966 and Seed Rules in 1968 gave legal status to seed registration.
What is a Registered Seed?
The Registered Seed which are also known as certified seeds means the progeny of foundation seed that fulfills all the established requirements . It is handled to maintain the assured genetic identity and purity. In other words, plants grown directly from the foundation seed produce the Registered Seed. This Category of Seed ensures conformity with standards by undergoing field and seed inspections. The Registered Seed produces the certified one. It has the highest genetic purity.
Commercial grain and crop producers produce these seeds to ensure an adequate supply of clean and high-quality seed stocks. Though it requires extra time and labour management, it usually does not need additional equipment.
Objectives of Seed certification
The following are the objectives of seed certification:
- Increased production and marketing of superior varieties of seeds systematically.
- Identifying and generalizing the newly released elite varieties under generally accepted names.
- Providing a regular supply of seed material through cautious maintenance.
Different Classes of Seeds And Registered Seed Tag Color
We know that a seed is the most fundamental agricultural input. There are four categories of Seeds in India- Nuclear Seed, Breeder Seed, Foundation Seed, and Certified or Registered Seed. As per Section 5 of the Seeds Act 1966, each of these seeds has a different colour tag. Hence, we also call them the Labelled Seed.
The colour tag for each class of Seeds is as given below:
- Breeder Seeds- Golden Yellow tag
- Foundation Seeds- White tag
- Registered Seeds- Opal Blue tag
- Certified Seeds- Green tag
The growth of high-quality seeds requires different classes of Seeds. It happens under the supervision of a seed certification agency for delivering seeds of registered varieties for sowing purposes to farmers.
Let’s discuss these classes of Seeds in detail.
The Nucleus Seed is the initial amount of pure Seed that does not contain physical impurities. It is a small quantity available with the plant breeder. Breeders produce and maintain these seeds strictly under isolation. It avoids both genetic and Physical contamination. This Seed is made available to other agencies on demand to begin a seed multiplication chain. This category has no certification agency. The nucleus seed preserves the vigour of the original variety.
The Procedure for maintenance of a nucleus seed:
Variety Sampling To Obtain Nucleus Seed
The highly-promising numbers and lines are sampled based on the performance in breeding nurseries. breeders sample only fifteen varieties of seeds in a year. Then they record observations on each IPS (Integrated plant system) for all the crucial features. These features are- stem colour, hairiness, plant height, pigmentation, colour and shape of different plant parts, growth habits, etc. It is the most crucial stage in seed development.
Table Examination of Samples
The plant breeder threshes two hundred plants of each sample separately. They examine the seeds in piles on the table and remove off-type and diseased piles. This phase makes the two hundred plant samples Ready to be sown in purification nurseries known as the nucleus.
Locating and Seeding Nucleus
The breeders grow each nucleus seed on clean fertile land at an experiment station. It takes place in an area where they could grow this new variety during its release.
Inspection And Removal Of Off Types
It involves examining critically the nucleus plot throughout the growing season. The Breeders should look for differences in the habit of early plant growth, rate of growing, leaf colour, and disease reactions. One should remove the plot that differs from the average in the pre-heading stages of growing.
Harvesting and Threshing of the Nucleus
The breeders harvest and tie a minimum of 180 out of 200 in each remaining plot. It is followed by labelling and preserving the total bundles of each nucleus. The new variety of nucleus bundles unworthy of continuation needs removal.
The breeders clean the seeds and place the grains from each nucleus plot in a pile. They evaluate 180 or more piles of seeds for uniformity of seed appearance. Those that appear off-types need removal. Then they mask together the remaining piles of the Seeds in one lot, followed by Insecticides and fungicides treatment. They are Labelled and preserved as breeder’s stock seeds that are ready for use in the upcoming year.
A breeder seed is an offspring of a nucleus seed. The breeders produce them by mutually multiplying three different lines. These lines are the A-line, B-line, and R-line. Out of these, the B-line and R-line are males, while the A-line is female sterile. Legal rights protect such seeds.
The steps involved in the maintenance of the breeder’s seeds are:
- Sowing the breeder stock seed from the nucleus on clean, fertile land. This land must not have grown the same kind of crop in the preceding year.
- Properly isolating the field.
- Using the best farming procedures while sowing, raising, and harvesting the breeder’s stock.
- Producing it at the experiment station in the region where breeders have bred new varieties.
- The seeding should be done by making the best use of the seeds available. It should also facilitate rouging. The plants need evaluation in rows for possible mixtures.
- The off type of plants needs removal. The rouging happens before the flowering.
- The breeder’s stock is then harvested and threshed. The equipment used should be clean. At this stage, the Seeds should be around 99.9 % pure. They are now ready for the increase of the foundation seed.
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The foundation seed is an offspring of the breeder seed. The breeders further bred them, giving rise to the certified or registered seeds. A certification agency must accept the production of the foundation seed. The State Farms Corporation of India (SFCI) is responsible for producing foundation seeds to suit the demand for national varieties.
The guidelines that need consideration during the production of foundation seeds
- Foundation seed produced directly from breeder seed is known as the foundation seed stage- I
- Foundation seed produced from foundation seed stage- 1 is known as foundation seed stage- II
- The foundation seed stage- II is only for use for the production of certified seed class
- The certification tag shall be white for foundation seed stages - I and II.
- The breeder should adopt the production of foundation seed stage- II for the following group of crops:
1. Self-pollinated crops
2. Composite and synthetics
3. Parental line increase of hybrid crops
4. Vegetative crops
The Certification Agency supervises and approves the production of ofundation seed stages- I and II. These seeds must conform to the certification standards.
Certified or Registered Seed
The certified seed is the last stage that reaches the farmer. It should meet the standards of seed certification, as prescribed in the Indian Minimum Seeds Certification Standards, 1988. The certificate tag for the registered seed class shall be blue. It is not eligible for further seed increase under certification. Such seeds shall be tagged as not eligible for further seed increase under certification.
The guidelines that need consideration during the production of registered seed:
- It starts with a small plot raised from the parental material received from the breeder or uniform seed multiplication field in case of established cultivars.
- The plots with uniformity and plant type are bulked together to produce nucleus seed as second phase
- Such plants are harvested and threshed separately. In the next season rows get planted and are examined for cultivation features during the entire season.
Seed certification or registration maintains high-quality seed standards. It is indeed a crucial step in seed production and marketing. This system involves growing varieties of crops. The aim should be to check the purity and physical identity of the seeds.
The article highlighted different types of seed classes and detailed information regarding each. Seed certification has been a process that is designed to maintain and make available to the general public continuous supply for high quality seed. The main objective is to ensure the acceptable standards of seed viability, vigour, purity and seed health.
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