There are many quality control processes required to successfully produce certified seed. Here are some of the steps we take at Chin Ridge to ensure your seed is going to perform in the field:
QUALITY CONTROL IN THE FIELD
It starts with selecting our new seed varieties carefully because each variety that we commit to will require 3 years of carefully planned crop rotations in advance of seeding to ensure we can grow the seed to the purity specification we require. This means ensuring that the crops sown during all 3 years prior are not crops that would be difficult to separate or identify if they happened to volunteer in the new crop.
Then once the field is planted, independent crop inspectors come through the field and ensure that the field is pure enough to meet the standards of pedigreed seed. When the crop passes inspection, we receive a crop certificate from the Canadian Seed Growers Association certifying that the crop has passed inspection.
QUALITY CONTROL DURING HARVEST
There is quite a strategy to keeping our varieties pure during harvest. Our staff carefully cleans out all combines and trucks between fields to ensure no contamination takes place.
QUALITY CONTROL DURING CLEANING
When cleaning seed in our seed cleaning plant, great care is taken to clean out every piece of seed cleaning equipment between different lots of seed. Every lot of seed is assigned a lot number and samples are taken off the cleaning equipment during the seed cleaning run to ensure the seed is clean enough to meet the purity standards required for pedigreed seed. A retain sample from each lot is saved that is representative of the entire seed lot. A sample from this retain is sent off to an independent seed lab to check that the lot's germination, vigor, disease levels and thousand kernel weight meet the pedigreed seed standards. The lab test results then help us to recommend proper seeding rates to our customers.
QUALITY CONTROL DURING CUSTOMER LOADING
When loading customers, care is taken to ensure paperwork is all consistent and that scale tickets are in order. Augers and seed cleaning equipment are cleaned out carefully between each customer. Our staff will check to see if the customer has cleaned out his truck sufficiently prior to loading the seed. Customers receive a tag with their load paperwork that indicates the pedigreed status (certified for example), seed variety, crop certificate number and lot number. This tag is the customer's evidence that the seed has met all the quality control standards of pedigreed seed.
There are many steps involved in pedigreed seed production. It requires our staff to follow many procedures and much record keeping is required. At the end of the day, though, we feel happy to know that we are providing our customers with a product that will perform well in their fields and meet their farms' needs.