PrimingHydrating a Seed for Uniform Harvest
- Emergence can occur before soil crusting becomes fully detrimental.
- Crops can compete more effectively with weeds.
- Priming allows growers to better control their water usage and scheduling.
- Priming can eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of seed-borne fungi and bacteria.
What is priming?
Priming is the controlled manipulation of the seed’s hydration level. Priming can increase the uniform emergence of seedlings, a pre-condition for a uniform harvest. Priming can also alleviate heat induced seed dormancy in several important crops. Crops requiring light for germination can be primed which will allow seed to germinate in the dark. Lettuce seed is commonly primed because lettuces are particularly inclined to exhibit heat and light induced seed dormancy. Priming can alleviate the problem.
When we prime seeds they are hydrated to a controlled predetermined level. At that level certain metabolic steps towards germination are initiated. As seeds reach the desired level of hydration they are held at that level until all the seeds within that batch catch up.
The level of seed hydration is stopped at that level which avoids radicle emergence and allows the seed to be dehydrated without causing irreversible damage to the seed.
With primed seeds, plant stands emerge more rapidly and uniformly.
Seed Dynamics, Inc. priming techniques are confidential and proprietary. There are multiple priming methods used commercially including liquid or osmotic priming, drum priming and solid matrix priming.
Reasons for priming
- To overcome or alleviate photochromic-induced (light) dormancy in plants such as lettuce and endive/escarole.
- To decrease the time necessary for germination and emergence.
- To improve the stand uniformity, aiding in production management and increasing the chance for uniformity at harvest.
- To extend the temperature range at which a seed can germinate.
- To increase the rate of germination at any particular temperature. Priming can reduce germination times in the field by approximately 50% upon subsequent rehydration.
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Tim Sugishita, Production Manager, Inari Agriculture