Seed: Definition, Techniques and History | Agriculture
After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Definition of Seed 2. Techniques for Production of Seed 3. History 4. Factors 5. Measures 6. Testing.
Definition of Seed:
Seed is technically defined as ripened ovule containing embryo. Another definition says that the seed is a living embryo which is vital and basic input for attaining sustained growth in agricultural production in different agro-climatic conditions. The embryo in the seed remains almost suspended for sometimes and then revives to new development.
Seed is the symbol of beginning in scientific agriculture, seed is the basic input and the most important catalyst for other inputs to be cost effective. For ensuring sustainability the seed supports high productivity, enhancing profitability, creating bio-diversity at a reasonable level and gives environmental protection. Thus the seed plays a vital and remarkable role in agriculture.
The globalization of market and the recent meet of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade will call for competitiveness and efficiency in the seed sector and its utility in terms of productivity, risk coverage, nutritional qualities and adaptability.
Techniques for Production of Seed:
The technique of seed production involves:
1. Preparation of land,
2. Maintenance of specified isolation distance,
4. Synchronization of flowering in male and female lines (in case of maize i.e., in hybrid seed production),
5. Constant vigil,
6. Plant protection measures, and
7. Prevention of moisture stress particularly during seed formation and development.
In the post-harvest period of seed the requirements are:
Skill handling for special seed is important.
History of Production of Seed:
The earliest attention in seed production was given to vegetables, cotton, jute. The government effort was confined to jute, cotton and sugarcane as commercial crops in the interest of the British mercantilism, but the vegetable production was in private hands.
Improved varieties of seeds were available for crops like wheat, barley, paddy but not in sufficient quantity to farmers and the lacunae was recognized by the Royal Commission on Agriculture (1928).
The Commission recommended that the State Department of Agriculture should have separate staff to attend to seed testing and its distribution. The cooperative societies may also be involved in it. Increased attention to seed production was given during the post war period as part of Grow More Food Comparing.
The Famine Enquiry Commission in 1945 and the Grow More Food Enquiry Committee 1952 noticed many short-comings in the system and recommended improvements.
Seed production farms were established in the country. The progressive farmers were involved and registered as seed growers and the cooperative societies for storage and marketing. These farms were 2000 in 1971. Department staff was to maintain check on quality of seed at every stage. Periodic reviews brought out the weakness of the programmes.
It started developing later in the States in the form of Agricultural Research Conferences (AGRESCO) and in between the States an All India Coordinated Research Projects. The sixties marked further development with the introduction of High Yielding Varieties and hybrids of cereals and better crop technology. The HYV of maize was released in 1961 and release of jowar and Bajra hybrid seeds between 1961 and 1966.
In order to multiply and distribute the HYV seeds the National Seed Corporation (NSC) was started in 1963 to organize initially the production of small quantities of hybrid seeds as concomitant of HYV Programme. In 1965 the NSC was given an expanded role of producing Foundation Seed and initiating a programme of maintaining quality of seed.
The IARI, ICAR, and Rockfeller Foundation helped in a good system of seed certification in 1965. It had to arrange for the production and marketing of certified seeds. Increasing emphasis on, quality seed necessitated the establishment of seed testing laboratories which at first was established at IARI in 1961 now such laboratories are found in every State.
A Central Seed Act was passed in 1961 December but became operational in October 1969 which made a beginning of Statuary provision of quality control of seed.
Maximum impact of HYV seed is reflected by the coverage of acreage under the HYV crops. Wheat covers 45 per cent, paddy 20 per cent, other cereals 4-15 per cent of the total cropped area in 1971-72.
The Seed Review Tean (SRT) was established with the object of saturating the country’s cropped area with improved seeds of known quality 12 crops viz., paddy, wheat, maize, sorghum, bajra, ragi, barley, gram, groundnut, cotton, jute and tur and reference were made to vegetables, potato, soybean, forage crops, and grasses.
It recommended the establishment of wings like:
1. Production related activities up to distribution stage,
2. Seed certification,
3. Seed law enforcement.
Training programme for seed technology was also suggested and further suggested that certification agencies should be independent of producing and selling agencies.
According to Interim Report multiplication and distribution of breeder’s seed be given to certain selected breeders and institutions which be selected by the ICAR. Export variety crops also be handled like that. Monopoly of a single individual or institution be avoided.
Multiplication of the local varieties will be the responsibility of the concerned State Governments which have to nominate or locate one or more institutional organizations for the purpose.
The job of seed production and distribution has to be diversified and got done in various ways, e.g., through seed corporations, seed cooperatives, seed grower’s organizations, agro-industries corporations and private agencies including individuals. Agro-industries will also take marketing and production. The basic principles laid down by the Interim Report may extend to other crops also.
Seed production by State Farm Corporation had advantages like: vastness from 1,000 to 20,000 hectares farms situated in different climatic regions.
The Central Government had constituted the Central Seed Committee (CSC) in September 1968 in accordance with the Central Seed Act, 1966. The Act envisaged that the CSC could appoint one or more sub-committee for discharging such of its functions as might be delegated.
Factors for Profitable Production of Seed:
The factors which must be kept in mind for profitable seed production enterprises are:
1. Reduction in cost of production.
2. Large size of land on which to produce the three kinds of seeds-certified, foundation and breeders.
3. Isolation from other cultivable lands to get purity.
4. The benefits to small farmer go by pooling their resources into compact and viable units, and
5. Compact area approach by big farmers.
Measures for Quality Improvement of Production of Seed:
There has been act in this direction. There are two acts:
1. The Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act, of 1937. This is operative in the field of agricultural marketing and is meant to regulate through marketing inspectors the quality of agricultural produce in general for marketing purposes.
2. The Seed Act of 1966. This is meant for transaction in seed used for raising crops and is enforced through seed inspectors. But both are enforced through different agency.
Seed act is basically of regulatory in nature and is meant to ensure that seeds of notified varieties offered for sale conform to certain minimum limits of purity and germination. This Act should be encouraging in nature to producers.
Since the seed Act has been formulated in the infant stage it has many lacunae:
(i) It does not provide licensing and registration of dealers and as such the enforcement is difficult.
(ii) Provision of minimum germination standard does not really give a choice of selection to purchasers with respect of a variety which will give maximum germination.
(iii) The enforcement of seed law at present restricted to kinds notified that the Seed Act is applicable to seeds and propagative materials of only agricultural crops in the group of food crops (including edible oil seeds, pulses, sugars, and starches, fruits and vegetables), cotton and fodder.
Each state has its seed testing laboratories. IARI and NSC have their separate laboratories. IARI serves as Central Seed Testing Laboratory. The Forest Research Institute, Dehradun serves as the testing laboratory for fresh seeds.
These labs do routine analysis of seed samples for the evaluation of physical purity, germination and moisture. Genetic purity could also be checked but facilities were rare. Genetic purity evaluation is of great utility for seed laboratories’ certification agencies, seed law enforcement agencies, seed trades and fanners.
There are three main tests:
(a) Laboratory Test,
(b) Green House or Growth Chamber Test,
(c) Field plots or Growth test.
The first two provide preliminary data.
Under the infield condition they give final verdict.
These are generally useful for determination of genetic purity.
Hybrid seed production involves production and maintenance of parental lines, at least two seasons, ahead of actual seed production, and evolution of parental lines, specially in maize, requires continuous inbreeding with selection for as many as six seven generations.
Like the hybrids, vegetatively propagated crops have also their special problems.
Seed: Definition, Techniques and History | Agriculture After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Definition of Seed 2. Techniques for Production of Seed 3. History 4. Factors 5.