Plows and Pitchforks

Plows and Pitchforks
When I was a kid, my grandfather told me once that the "only good place for cheap seed corn is in the bottom of a post-hole." The point he was making is that seed quality can be important when planning for next season's crop. When you are planning to purchase seed don't forget about South Dakota Seeds.

South Dakota Certified Seed is produced by the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association. Their stated purpose is to "maintain and make available to the public sources of high quality seeds and propagating materials of superior varieties so grown and distributed as to insure genetic identity." The key to remember is that the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association's major focus is to deliver sound research to the public though the production and sale of certified seed.

Planting certified seed helps insure good emergence and growth. To be selected for certification, a variety must be distinct or novel in one or more respects. The difference in quality vs. bin-run seeds is about 10 to 15 percent. The varieties produced and marketed by the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association were those that were bred to foster a more stable agriculture for the state of South Dakota, which is also the organization's mission.


There are three classes of South Dakota Certified Seed. Foundation seed is produced from the progeny of breeder seed stocks produced directly under control of the originator or sponsoring institution. The next step for getting a variety to the public is via registered seed. Registered seed is the next generation after enough foundation seed has been produced. It is handled according to the rules of the certifying agency.

Certified seed is the progeny of Breeder, Foundation or Registered seed. The certification service of the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association is a member of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies and operates under the authority of the South Dakota State Seed Certification Board. However, the interesting thing that I found was that the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association is not a marketing entity, meaning that they do not sell any seed.

South Dakota Certified Seed is sold by private growers who have planted Foundation or Registered seed and have passed a rigorous testing regime by passing all certification tests and meeting or surpassing applicable standards. The final certification only will occur after the seed lot is conditioned and passes the laboratory analysis.

The South Dakota Certified Seed Directory is printed each year. It lists all growers who have planted Foundation or Registered seed. These growers take preliminary seed orders but if they sell seed without the South Dakota certified label, it cannot be considered Certified Seed. Copies of the grower directory as well as seed sample bags are available at your county's extension office.

If a grower is interested in growing seed for certification, they must first apply to the SDCIA. The SDCIA inspects the crop while it is still in its growth stages and makes sure that harvesting and storage is completed in such a way to prevent mixing or contamination.

For more information the South Dakota Crop Improvement Association can be contacted at (605)-688-4604, or call your local cooperative extension office.

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