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Mark A. Bennett, Nancy W. Callan, and Vincent A. Fritz

Disease management is an important step in any crop establishment system. Emergence of field-seeded crops may take several weeks for many species and represents a vulnerable stage of plant growth. This paper considers various biological, chemical, and physical seed treatments for improved seed performance. The role of seed quality and cultural practices in seedling establishment also is reviewed. Multidisciplinary approaches to improving horticultural crop establishment are promising.

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A.K. Forney, D.E. Halseth, and W.C. Kelly

Four planting and harvest dates yielded 16 lots of `Ruddy' red kidney beans (Phaseofus vulgaris L.) that were canned immediately after harvest in the fall and from storage in January and April. Late planting resulted in a high percentage of acceptable beans, but time of harvest had little effect on subsequent canning quality. The most important defect was transverse splitting from the hilum. Hilum splits, drained weight, cooked weight, and seed size were all negatively correlated with acceptability. Seed size was the most important factor determining quality, with the smallest seeds exhibiting the fewest splits. Length of storage had significant but small effects on canned seed quality.

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Daniel J. Cantliffe

Seed germination is a critical step to achieve economic success in a transplant operation. Total germination of a seed lot dictates total plant sales by the producer, while uniformity of germination dictates the quality of the transplant crop. Using high vigor seed will help to achieve uniform stands, as well as maximize stands, in the transplant house or field. In order to maintain the highest seed quality, transplant producers should store unused seeds at recommended temperature and relative humidity for the crop species. Methods to promote uniformity and optimum stands under a wide range of conditions include the use of seed priming, film coating with fungicides, and pelleting for ease of planting.

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Carlos A. Parera and Daniel J. Cantliffe

Seeds of two shrunken-2 (sh2) sweet corn (Zea mays L.) cultivars, Crisp N' Sweet 711 and How Sweet It Is were used to analyze seed quality factor differences between the cultivars. Negative correlations occurred among germination percentage and imbibition, electric conductivity, potassium concentration and total soluble sugars of the seed leachate. Imbibition and total soluble sugar in the leachate significantly increased as imbibition temperature increased from 5°C to 25°C in both cultivars. A significant increase in conductivity of the leachate also occurred in `Crisp N' Sweet 711' when temperature increased. Cracks in the seed coat were more frequent in `How Sweet It Is' than `Crisp N' Sweet 711'. The higher concentrations of soluble sugars in the seed, greater imbibition rate, leakage conductivity, potassium and sugar concentration in the leachate may have been directly related to the poorer seed quality of `How Sweet It Is'. The alteration in cell membrane structure caused by a rapid water uptake in `How Sweet It Is' may have led to the high concentration of electrolytes in the seed leachate. This, in turn, might provide a greater nutritive subtrate for fungi development.

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K.G.V. Davidson, F.D. Moore III, and E.E. Roos

Multiple electroconductivity readings (μAmps) of leachates from individual seeds during the first 6 hr of imbibition was examined as a possible predictor of seed quality. Readings from each sample of 100 seeds were formed into frequency distributions and the mean, median. and internal slope were calculated using an automated computer retrieval system. Internal slope is a non-central tendency measure based on the slope of a line tangent to the inflection point of the S-shaped cumulative frequency distribution (CFD) of μAmps. Radicle lengths (3 days) and germination (7 days) percentages were regressed on each of the two measures of central tendency and also the CFD shape indicator, internal slope. None of the three predictors were satisfactory for estimating seed vigor (root lengths) of maize (Zea mays L.) or wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) or germination of wheat seed lots. Internal slope was useful in estimating viability of artificially aged maize seeds (r2= 0.91), which compared favorably with our previous results using naturally aged red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) seed lots. Overall the seed quality of the unaged wheat lots was fairly high and the electrolyte leakage test was not sensitive enough to detect differences within these lots.

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Ebrahim M. Khah, Konstantinos A. Akoumianakis, and Harold C. Passam

As good quality irrigation water becomes increasingly scarce in the Mediterranean region, especially in coastal areas where greenhouses are located, methods of economizing water consumption are essential. Therefore, the effect of the duration of irrigation on the quality and yield of seed of two cultivars of dwarf green bean (`Larma' and `Montano', Phaseolus vulgaris L.) was studied during fall and spring in Greece. Seeds were sown on 11 Sept. 2000 (fall crop) and 23 Feb. 2001 (spring crop) in peat compost and when the plants had two expanded leaves (11 and 20 days after sowing, respectively), they were transplanted to the soil of an unheated, plastic-covered greenhouse. The following irrigation treatments were applied: 1) irrigation for the entire duration (control), 2) irrigation until the first pods were dry, 3) irrigation until ≈50% of the pods had filled, and 4) irrigation till flowering. Fall cultivation was not suitable for seed production due to low yield and reduced seed quality. By contrast, the spring crop had a higher yield, seed size and good germination. Stopping irrigation of the spring crop at the drying of the first pods achieved an ≈20% saving in water without significantly affecting seed yield or quality. Earlier discontinuation of irrigation to achieve greater savings of water caused a reduction in yield, but did not affect seed quality.

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Vladimir Orbović, Manjul Dutt, and Jude W. Grosser

The effects of fruit age on the seed quality and germination percentage of ‘Duncan’ and ‘Flame’ grapefruit and ‘Hamlin’ sweet orange were investigated. Our results suggested that seed germination varied from 98% to 100% for the two grapefruit cultivars and 85% to 100% for ‘Hamlin’ regardless of time of harvest. Within the first 5 months of the harvest season, chilling of ‘Duncan’ and ‘Hamlin’ seeds at 4 °C for 7 days after fruit sampling resulted in a lower germination percentage only with the ‘Hamlin’ seeds. Seed moisture content of all three cultivars varied slightly through the season and remained steady at 60% and 70% for batches of fresh seeds stored at room temperature or at 4 °C. Our results suggest that high seed viability and germination percentage can allow the use of these seeds for experimentation regardless of the time the fruit were picked during the harvest season.

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Mike Murray and Steve Temple

Significant industry interest exists for evaluating the lower Sacramento Valley as a production region for specialty dry beans. This interest is being driven by erratic or inconsistent production in the existing commercial production regions, mostly in the Pacific Northwest and the Mid-West regions. The environmental conditions in the Sacramento Valley are favorable for producing consistent yields of high-quality dry beans. Specialty beans are generally typified by limited markets and relatively high producer returns, and offers an attractive rotation crop for local growers.

Variety evaluations including many of the most popular or likely candidates for a local specialty bean industry were conducted in 1991 and 1993. Parameters evaluated included plant architecture, flowering dates, pod set and retention, maturity dates and seed yield. Additional qualitative evaluations to determine varietal quality were also conducted. Many varieties were identified that had both acceptable yield and seed quality potential.

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Jianhua Zhang and Miller B. McDonald

Varietal identification of cyclamen and petunia is important for flower seed production because these crops are marketed as hybrids and genetic purity determinations assure the purity of the seed lot and the success of hybridization. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) banding patterns have been shown to be useful in identifying genotypes of various crops. This molecular biology technique was applied to five commercial cyclamen and six petunia hybrids. Using bulk seed/seedling samples, the varieties could be differentiated. However, when individual seeds of the cyclamen hybrid were tested, differing polymorphisms were observed. These variations were attributed to genetic variability in the inbred parents. We conclude that the genetic purity of cyclamen seeds can be improved and that the use of RAPDs can assist breeders of hybrid flowering crops in better monitoring seed quality.

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Richard O. Hampton

Blackeye cowpea mosaic potyvirus is the most easily observable seed-borne virus in cowpeas, but is typically seed-transmitted at lower rates (i.e., 0.1 to 2%) than the less conspicuous cowpea severe mosaic comovirus or cucumber mosaic cucumovirus. All three viruses are readily vector transmissible after seed-borne inoculum reaches the field, perpetuating and spreading the viruses. Individually and particularly in mixtures, these viruses are capable of decreasing both seed quality and yield. Disease-tolerant cultivars are available, but fail to control viral diseases. Development of superior new cowpea cultivars with multiple viral-disease resistance is clearly within reach and has become essential to long-term, sustainable, profitable cowpea production. This breeding objective requires public-research supported efforts by the combined cowpea seed and processing industries. Southern bean mosaic sobemovirus is also recognized as an important cowpea pathogen, but was encountered at a much lower frequency than the above three viruses in both plant and seed samples, in 1992 and 1993.