What is seed?
In broad sense, seed is a material which is used for planting or regeneration purpose. However scientifically, Seed is a fertilized matured ovule together covered with seed coat is called seed or it is a propagating material i.e., part of agriculture, sericulture, silviculture and horticultural plants used for sowing or planting purpose.
Seed may be defined as structurally a true seed is a fertilized matured ovule, consisting of an embryonic plant; a store of food and a protective seed coat, a store of food consists of cotyledons and endosperm.
However, from the seed technological point of view seed may be sexually produced matured ovule consisting of an intact embryo, endosperm and or cotyledon with protective covering (seed coat). It also refers to propagating materials of healthy seedlings, tuber, bulbs, rhizome, roots, cuttings, sets, slips, all types of grafts and vegetative propagating materials used for production purpose.
Thus seed is the most vital and crucial input for crop production, one of the ways to increase the productivity without adding appreciably to the extent of land now under cultivation by planting quality seed.
Importance of Quality Seed
- Seed is a vital input in crop production;
- It is the cheapest input in crop production and key to agriculture progress.
- Crop status largely depends on the seed materials used for sowing
- Response of other inputs in crop production depends on seed material used
- The seed required for raising crop is quite small and its cost is so less compared to other inputs
- This emphasis the need for increasing the areas under quality seed production
- It is estimated that good quality seeds to improved varieties can contribute about 20-25% increase in yield.
Role of improved Seed
- Carrier of new technology
- Basic tool for a secure food supply
- The principle means to obtain crop yields in less favourable production area
- Medium for rapid rehabilitation of agriculture after natural disasters.
Difference between seed and grain
|It should be a viable||Need not be a viable|
|It should have maximum genetic & physical purity||Not so|
|Should satisfy minimum seed certification standards||No such requirements|
|Treated with pesticide /fungicide to protect seed against storage pests and fungi||Not treated with any chemicals, since used for consumption|
|Respiration rate and other physiological and biological processes should be kept at low level during storage||No such specifications
|Production is technically organized||Not so|
|It should satisfy all the seed quality attributes||No need|
Benefit of using quality seed
- They are genetically pure (true to type).
- The good quality seed has high return per unit area as the genetic potentiality of the crop can be fully exploited.
- Less infestation of land with weed seed/other crop seeds.
- Less disease and insect problem.
- Minimization of seed/seedling rate i.e., fast and uniform emergence of seedling.
- They are vigorous, free from pests and disease.
- They can be adopted themselves for extreme climatic condition and cropping system of the location.
- The quality seed respond well to the applied fertilizers and nutrients.
- Uniform in plant population and maturity.
- Crop raised with quality seed are aesthetically pleasing.
- Good seed prolongs life of a variety.
- Yield prediction is very easy.
- Handling in post-harvest operation will be easy.
- Preparations of finished products are also better.
- High produce value and their marketability.