India sustains about 10.7 per cent of the world’s livestock population. The productivity of our livestock often remains low due to inadequate and nutritionally unbalanced supply of feed and fodder. Availability of quality seed in forage crops to enhance production and productivity of feed and fodder is long felt need. Forage crops in general and range grasses and legumes in particular are shy seed producers. Therefore, quantity and quality seed production is an important area that needs to be strengthened for vertical growth in cultivated fodders. Usually farmers do not produce seed. The seeds sold in local market are of poor quality and infested with weeds/diseased/insect damaged, a discouraging factor for forage cultivation. Moreover, prevalence of several diseases compounded by the fluctuating climate is a major threat to all crops including fodders. Looking into a wide acceptability among farmers and high demand for quality seed, concerted efforts are needed to develop suitable seed production method of superior varieties. And a good seed production method is intended to maintain and make available to the public, through certification, high quality seeds and propagating materials of notified kind and varieties so grown and distributed as to ensure genetic identity and genetic purity.

Since the crop cultivation had been started by mankind to meet the physiological need, the need of high quality seeds used to raise the crop had been felt. In Manusmriti it is said, “Good seed in good soil yields abundantly”. In earlier days, quality of any crop seed used to encompass mainly its germinability. But gradually the yield potential of a particular variety or hybrid and the competitive issue of intellectual property rights (IPR) have lured the agriculturists to redefine the seed quality by its physical and genetic purity in addition with its physiological vigour and healthiness from disease-pest. Now seed producers are always extra-concerned to maintain the purity and other aforementioned parameters by imposing some strict technical regulations during seed production and its subsequent processing. In this article, attention has been given mainly on the field standards (Table1), described in Indian Minimum Seed Certification Standards (IMSCS, 2013) (published by The Central Seed Certification Board, Min. of Ag., GOI) to be practiced in field to avoid genetic contamination in forage crops. Genetic contamination may be due to natural crossing with other varieties grown alongside or off-type plants present in the field. Pollen is commonly dispersed from one plant to another by wind or insects. These carrier agencies also help in the spread of pest and disease population which further deteriorates the quantity, quality and vigour of the seed. Protection from these contaminating agents is necessary for maintaining genetic purity and the good quality of seed. A proper isolation distance with strict monitoring of all sorts of pests, off types, volunteer plants and weeds by regular field inspections should be followed in fields to check the quality deterioration before post-harvest handling. The isolation requirement is variable among the crops and it is low in self-pollinated crops while moderate in often-cross pollinated crops and higher in cross pollinated crops where wind/ insects act as pollinating agents. Hence, the field standards that help to monitor all the aforementioned issues are essential to be maintained to produce high quality seed.

Table1. Field standards for seed certification in Forage Crops

Forage crop

Isolation distance (meters)

Maximum permitted (%)

FI

V

NV

NS

OT

W/D/I

F

C

F

C

F

C

F

C

F

C

Berseem- (Trifolium alexandrinum  L.)

400

100

400

100

-

-

0.20

1.0

None

(W)

0.05

(W)

1. before FS &

2. Maturity

Buffel grass- (Cenchrus ciliaris) & Birdwood grass- (C. setigerus)

20

10

20

20

200

100

0.10

1.0

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS&

3. maturity

Dharaf grass- (Chrysopogon fulvus)

20

10

20

20

200

100

0.10

1.0

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Dinanath grass- (Pennisetum pedicellatum)

20

10

20

10

-

-

0.10

1.0

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Forage sorghum including Sudan grass- (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench)

200

100

200

100

400

400

0.10

0.20

0.05

(D)

0.10

(D)

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Gaur (cluster bean) - (Cyamopsis tetragonaloba (L.) Taub.)

10

5

10

5

 

 

0.10

0.20

0.10

(D)

0.20

(D)

1. before FS &

2. at FS

Guinea grass- (Panicum maximum Jacq.)

20

10

20

20

200

100

0.10

1.0

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Indian Clover (Senji)- (Melilotus spp.)

50

25

50

25

-

-

0.20

1.0

-

-

1. before FS &

2. after FS

Lucern- ( Medicago sativa L.)

400

100

400

100

-

-

0.20

1.0

None

(W)

0.05

(W)

1. before FS &

2. after FS

Marvel grass- (Dichanthium annulatum Stapf.)

20

10

20

20

200

100

0.20

1.0

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum K. Schum.) including HYBRID NAPIER GRASS

10

10

10

10

-

-

0.01

0.30

None

(W)

None

(W)

1. 45 days &

2. 100 days of planting

Oats- (Avena sativa L. and A. sterilis L. var. culta)

3

3

3

3

150*

150*

0.050

(W)

0.010

(I)

0.20

(W)

0.050

(I)

0.01

(W)

0.10

(D)

0.02

(W)

0.50

(D)

1. ear emergence &

2. harvest

Ricebean- Vigna umbellata (Thunb.)

50

20

50

20

-

-

0.1

0.2

-

-

1. before FS &

2. at FS

Setaria grass (pigeon grass)- (Setaria anceps Stapf. Ex. Massey.)

400

200

400

200

-

-

0.1

1.0

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Stylo- (Stylosanthes spp.)

50

25

50

25

-

-

0.10

1.0

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Teosinte- (Euchlaena mexicana Schard.)

200

100

200

100

-

-

0.1

0.5

-

-

1. before FS,

2. at FS &

3. maturity

Illustration of Table1

Symbols and specific crops

Comments

FI

Number and stages of field inspection w.r.t. flowering stage (FS)

OV

Fields of other varieties

NV

Fields of the same variety not conforming to varietal purity requirements for certification

NS

Fields of another spp. of same genus known to cross or suspected of being able to cross

F & C

Foundation & Certified seed

OT

Off-types

W or D or I

Objectionable weed plants (W) or disease plants (D) or Inseparable other crop plants (I)

-

Nothing is recommended

Berseem

W- Chicory (Kasni) Chicorium intybus L.

Forage sorghum including Sudan grass

D- Kernel smut or Grain smut (Sphacelotheca sorghi (Link) Clinton and Head smut (Sphacelotheca reiliana (Kuhn) Clinton)

Gaur (cluster

D- Bacterial blight (Xanthomonas campestris pv cyamopsidis Patel, Dhande & Kulkarni), Anthracnose (Colletotrichum lindemuthianum (Sacc. & Magn.) Br. & Cav.), Ascochyta blight (Ascochyta spp.) (in hilly areas only)

Lucern

W- Dodder (Cuscuta spp.)

Napier grass & HYBRID NAPIER grass

D- Canada thistle: Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop.

Dodder: Cuscuta spp.

Johnson grass (Baru): Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.

Quack grass (Twitch grass, Couch grass): Agropyron repens (L.) P. Beauv.

Wild Morning glory (Hirankhuri): Convolvulus arvensis L.

Oat

Fields of oats with infection of loose smut (Ustilago avenae (Pers.) Rostr.) disease in excess of 0.10% and 0.50% in Foundation and Certified seed, respectively.

I- barley, wheat, gram and triticale.

O- Wild oats (Avena fatua L.)

D- Loose smut (Ustilago avenae (Pers.) Rostr.)

 


Authors:

1Aniruddha Maity*, 2D. Vijay, 1C. K. Gupta, 1V. K. Wasnik and 3D. R. Malaviya

1Scientist, 2Senior Scientist, 3Principal Scientist,

Seed Technology Division, Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi, UP- 284003.

Email: * This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.