Seed has been an important agricultural commodity since the first crop plant was domesticated by pre-historic man. For thousand of years, man cleaned seed of his food crops by winnowing. This is still an important process, but it is no longer adequate to supply the kind of seed needed by farmer.
Seed processing is a vital part of the seed production needed to move the improved genetic materials of the plant breeder into commercial channels for feeding the rapidly expanding world population. The farmer must get the quality seed that is free from all undesired materials because farmer’s entire crop depends on it.
Seed can seldom be planted in the condition in which it comes from the growers. In fact, many seed lots contain weed or crop seed or inert material that make them unfit for sale without processing. Crop seed also frequently have stems, awns, clusters or other structures, which prevent from flowing through the drill freely.
Seed processing is that segment of the seed industry responsible for upgrading seed (Fig. 1), improving planting condition of seed, and applying chemical protectants to the seed.
Advantages of seed processing:
1. Make possible more uniform planting rates by proper sizing
2. Improve seed marketing by improving seed quality
3. Prevent spread of weed seed
4. Prevent crops from disease by applying chemical protectants
5. Reduces seed losses by drying
6. Facilitate uniform marketing by providing storage from harvest time until the seed is needed for planting.
Seed Production by Private Sector
Seed production by private sectors starts from the procurement of breeder seed from State Agricultural Universities and ICAR Institutions. Then the seed is cultivated by private sector or by contract growers with proper supervision of Orissa State Seed Certification Agency personals which is a third party certification agency of the state department of agriculture. The seed after harvesting is cleaned and graded. If germination of seed is acceptable as per seed certification standards, the OSSCA certifies the same for sale seed as certified seed.
The multiplication of seed chain starts from nucleus seed. This is then successively multiplied to breeders, foundation and certified seed, truthfully levelled seed with later being sown to produce commercial crops. In all this stages the quality control is paramount importance, as it is essential that trueness to type of variety be maintained. The company plans to procure foundation seeds from Agricultural Universities/NSC/SSC to support its certified seed production programme. Seeds of this stage are available from these agencies on placement of indent in advance.