by Kim Cooper
What do you know about seed crops and just what are seed crops? If you recall my article on seed corn destasseling, which employs hundreds of our young people, the seed that is harvested from those fields are sold to farmers the following year to plant their corn crop. The same type of process is used in growing seed soybeans, seed wheat, and other grains and oilseeds, in order to supply farmers with the high quality seeds for them to plant the following year.
Every farmer should be able to access healthy seeds, which are genetically pure, with high seed vigour, and good germination percentage. Timely availability of good quality seeds ensures good yield and profit to the farmers. To ensure this, the Canadian government has set standards and has brought in seed production techniques, testing, certification and marketing procedures through the Seeds Act.
In the past, farmers could get their seed by keeping some of their crops from the year before to grow as seed the following year, or from buying it from other farmers. Today, the vast majority of seeds our farmers use to grow corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops are referred to as ‘Certified Seed.”
Certified seed is the product of a production process designed to deliver specific plant breeding achievements to farmers and the food industry. In other words, it is true-to-type, which means all the benefits developed by the plant breeder are retained as the seed is multiplied over a specific number of generations (to the Certified seed stage) from the small amount of seed developed by the plant breeder.
Since 1904, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) has ensured the supply of high-quality seed in Canada. Its members have been multiplying and producing some of the highest quality seed in the world using a quality assurance identity preserved system that is world renowned.
Certified seed is recognizable by the blue Certified tag of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that accompanies each sale of seed. This tag means a number of important factors which includes: 1) the seed and crop has been inspected by an officially recognized third-party agency; 2) it has been produced by dedicated Canadian seed growers according to stringent requirements; 3) it has undergone a carefully monitored production process; 4) it has passed the quality assurance requirements of varietal purity, germination and freedom from impurities; and 5) it is ready for commercial use.
Canada’s seed system is recognized and respected around the globe because it ensures germination and mechanical purity, while providing a third-party verified audit trail of varietal identity. It’s a system that has given Canada its worldwide reputation as a supplier of quality agricultural products.
A number of agricultural seed companies are located here. Dow AgroSciences, DuPont/Pioneer, and Pride Seeds all have their Canadian headquarters in Chatham-Kent. We also have two independently owned seed companies in Chatham-Kent, those being C&L Seed Production Group (Country Farms Seeds brand) in the Blenheim area and Maizex Seeds (Maizex brand) in the Tilbury area.
C&L Seed Production Group is owned and operated by Lyle and Lee Giffin, along with Chris, Craig and Dale Stewart.
Maizex Seeds is owned and operated by Dave and Brenda Baute.
So why do we have so much seed production in our area? Ontario, and in particular Chatham-Kent, is a world-class producer of seed, due to the region’s exceptional combination of climate, soils, production expertise and infrastructure. Our growers consistently produce excellent, dependable yields of superior quality seed for our soybean, corn, wheat and other crops. Yet another reason our Chatham-Kent farmers continue to grow for the world.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agriculture website at: wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 45 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’