Seed World

Radicle Emergence Testing: Measure Seed Vigour to Set Your Company Apart

As you get ready to begin 2024, you’re no doubt asking yourself how you can set yourself apart from the competition as a new year kicks into gear.

Morgan Webb
President & Senior Seed Analyst, Seed Check

As a seed analyst, one of the most exciting and innovative tests I know of that enables customer competitiveness is the radicle emergence test, which measures the speed and uniformity of root protrusion from the seed. This test has many advantages over traditional vigour tests, such as being more cost-effective, repeatable, and predictive of field performance.

The radicle emergence test is not just a measure of crop emergence; it gauges vigour and resilience of seeds. Unlike germination tests, which measure the percentage of seeds that germinate after a certain period, the radicle emergence test measures the percentage of seeds that break through their seed coat within a specified time frame. The faster and more uniform this occurs, the more vigorous the seed.

The radicle emergence test is especially useful for early crops such as corn, brassicas, soybeans, and canola, which have high variability in germination rates due to environmental factors such as temperature and moisture. The test can also be applied to a wide range of crops, including soybeans and forage/turf crops, showcasing its versatility and effectiveness.

This test is not only a tool for quality assessment; it is also a tool for differentiation. While germination and purity tests are necessities for selling seed, radicle emergence testing serves as a quality parameter that allows companies to showcase their superior vigour products. This gives them a competitive edge in the market.

Companies can use this test not only to rank their seed lots internally but also to compare themselves against competitors. This information is valuable for demonstrating high vigour, guiding sales strategies, and ensuring that the best-performing lots are prioritized for distribution. It’s a strategic tool that goes beyond meeting regulatory standards; it focuses on the quality of the product itself.

Precision and Experience

The radicle emergence test has evolved from being mainly used by cereals producers to being adopted by other crop sectors as well. The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) has also approved this test as an official method.

The execution of this test requires precision and experience from analysts who play a crucial role in ensuring consistent and accurate results. The test involves maintaining specific temperature conditions (such as 20 C for canola) with a precise margin of error. The measurement of the radicle (the embryonic root) is the key parameter.

Training analysts to measure radicles quickly and accurately is essential for reliable results. The process demands expertise and adherence to standardized methods, ensuring consistency across different batches.

I believe that radicle emergence testing is a game-changer for seed quality assessment; it unlocks agricultural potential by providing valuable insights into how different crops respond to environmental conditions during their early stages.

It can also set your company apart in a competitive market by highlighting your superior seed products.

2 Reasons to Make Use of Radicle Emergence Testing

A radicle emergence test is a method of measuring the vigour of seeds by observing how fast and uniformly they emerge from the soil. Vigour is an important factor for seed quality, as it indicates the potential for germination, growth, and yield. A radicle emergence test can make your seed company more competitive by:

  • Providing a reliable and objective way of assessing the vigour of different seed lots, which can help you select the best seeds for your customers and avoid losses due to poor germination or low performance.
  • Enhancing your reputation as a leader in seed quality and innovation, as you offer a cutting-edge technology that can differentiate your products from others in the market.