Ensuring seeds quality and standards processes securing market access for Australian Industry

Many people don’t fully understand what is meant by seed certification, or what benefits certified seed offers to those who want to establish a crop or pasture from seed. Some think it means that the seed is of better quality, which is usually interpreted to mean that it has a higher germination, or that it has fewer weed seeds than uncertified seed. Neither of these assumptions is true.

Certification actually means that you can buy seed which is as close as possible to the genetic make-up of the variety as selected by the breeder.

The plant breeder spends a lot of time and effort to produce a new variety which he/she believes is superior in some respect to other varieties commercially available, and hence offers benefits to farmers who grow that variety. The certification rules and the certification process are designed to ensure that the buyer of seed of that variety actually gets crop or pasture plants with the valuable characteristics selected by the breeder.

For a more detailed explanation of seed certification, see the article “Seed Certification – why you should buy only certified seed”.

However, the Australian seed industry has requested ASA to also impose standards for the germination and physical purity of certified seed, in order to ensure that buyers do not buy seed which may not be able to establish plants through lack of germinability, or which may contain excessive or unwanted weed seeds. All seed certified in Australia, under either the OECD Seed Schemes or the Australian Seed Certification Scheme, must meet these standards.  Click here to view the Quality Standards for Certified and Basic Seed.