Crop agriculture began more than 10,000 years ago with man’s discovery of the propagative function of seed. From the beginning of cultivation to our present time, seeds have been the crucial factor in the establishment, diversification and improvement of crops. Even though seeds are such an integral part of agriculture yet we tend overlook their vital roles in crop production and crop improvement. The old scripture, Manu Smriti says Subeejam Sukshetre Jayate Sampadyate i.e., Good seed in good field yields abundantly.
Definition of Seed Quality
Quality seed is defined as varietally pure with a high germination percentage, free from disease and disease organisms, and with a proper moisture content and weight. Quality seed insures good germination, rapid emergence, and vigorous growth.
Seed is the most efficient and effective means of crop propagation. Plant populations have been distributed over time and locations mainly by seed dispersal. Compared to the other sources of plant propagation used for some crops, seed are smaller, hence very convenient to store and transport, hardier, easier to sow, relatively free of diseases, and a much smaller portion of the produce is required for propagation.
A farmer must use pure and healthy seeds as per the certification norms which have a standard germination percentage to be able to produce more. Good quality seeds are those which have genetic and physical purity and moisture content in accordance with seed certification standards. Farmers make arrangements for many inputs but quality seed is the most essential input among all the inputs. If the seed is of sub standard quality, then other inputs of farming like labour and other expenses are futile.
Importance of Seed Quality
The importance of quality seeds has been recognized from the time immemorial. In 5th Century “Kautilya Artha Shasthra”, listed out the importance of seed and seed treatments that should be put in practice to ensure good germination. Seed treatment with natural substances like milk, cowdung and honey was done to protect the seed during germination. A good understanding of the basic and pivotal role of seed in agriculture is essential to devise effective strategies for agricultural and rural development.
Quality seeds must be considered as a major component in the package of inputs required to improve crop production, and as a catalyst for exploitation of other technological improvements in crop production. Quality seed increases production of crops by about 25%.
Significance of Quality Seed
- Better the seed, better will be the crop produce
- Most economical input in crop production is the seed.
- Response of other inputs in crop production largely depends on the type of seed material used.
Role of Improved Seeds
- Basic source food security.
- Seed acts as a progenitor of new technology.
- As a source of crop yield even in less responsive areas.
- Revival of agriculture after natural disasters occurs easily through seed.