Effect of Seed Storage on Germination and Forage Production of Seven Grass Cultivars1
- C. M. Rincker and
- J. D. Maguire2
Little information is available on the effect of longterm subfreezing seed storage on grass forage yields. Fresh (1-year-old) and old (12- to 15-year-old) seed of two cultivars each of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.), and timothy (Phleum pratense L.) and one cultivar of meadow fescue (Festuca elatior L.) were compared in standard germination, accelerated aging, greenhouse emergence, and field forage-yield tests. The 12- to 15-year-old seed had been stored at about —15 C and 60% relative humidity since year of harvest. In laboratory and greenhouse testing, seed of the 14-year-old orchardgrass cultivars performed as well as or better than the fresh seed. The older seed of ‘Polar’ bromegrass and ‘Tammisto’ timothy performed well in the standard germination tests but its performance dropped sharply in the accelerated aging test. The 14-year-old ‘Tammisto’ meadow fescue seed performed poorly in all tests. Seed age had no effect on orchardgrass, bromegrass, or timothy forage yields. Orchardgrass field plots established with fresh and old seed, respectively, produced 8.3 and 8.5 metric tons/ha of dry forage for ‘Pennlate’ and 6.1 and 6.2 metric tons/ha for ‘S-143.’ Similar forage yield comparisons were 7.1 and 6.7 metric tons/ha for ‘Saratoga’ bromegrass, 6.0 and 5.7 metric tons/ha for Polar bromegrass, 5.0 and 5.1 metric tons/ha for ‘Essex’ timothy, 5.0 and 4.5 metric tons/ha for Tammisto timothy and 5.9 and 6.5 metric tons/ha for Tammisto meadow fescue. Only the meadow fescue yield difference was significant. The 14-year-old meadow fescue seed was of low quality before the storage period began. We concluded that forage yields would not be affected by long-term subfreezing seed storage if the seed was of high quality when initially stored.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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