Relationship between seed harvesting method and seed physiological quality for a number of Pioneer maize hybrids


The seed germination and seed vigor of eight Pioneer Hi-Bred maize hybrids were evaluated immediately after harvesting and a year later. The aim was to determine whether the seed showed loss of germination and vigor when shelled mechanically. The seed was cleaned but not dressed, and then germinated according to the ISTA standard procedure in four seed analysis laboratories. In addition, the seed of two randomly chosen hybrids was divided into four fractions based on size and shape, and the germination of each fraction was examined separately. All the germination results were acceptable according to the ISTA (2010) standard (over 90%), but a higher germination percentage was observed after manual shelling than after mechanical shelling. The number of abnormal seedlings, however, was higher for mechanically shelled seeds than for those harvested as whole ears. When the seed of separate seed fractions was tested, the germination percentage was lowest for the medium-sized round fraction and highest for the large flat fraction. The seed vigor of three of the hybrids was highest when maize seeds were harvested shelled rather than on the ear. For all the hybrids the germination percentage was lower for both groups when analyzed a year after harvesting. Better germination results were obtained for all the hybrids after whole ear harvesting than in the shelled group, but the difference was not significant. In the vigor tests the results obtained for mechanically shelled seed were superior to those for whole ear harvesting for the same three hybrids, but again the difference was not significant. The experiments should be repeated over several years to determine whether mechanically shelling maize seed negatively affects seed germination and vigor.


harvesting; maize seed; germination; vigor

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