See more from this Session: General Seed Production, Physiology, and Technology: I
Monday, October 17, 2011: 1:20 PM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 216B, Concourse Level
Food security of small share-holder farmers is dependent upon many factors, not the least of which is the reliable supply of quality seed. A high percentage of small shareholder farmers also live under the conditions of abject poverty, making the purchase of high quality seeds an untenable possibility. The objective of this presentation is to demonstrate the importance of planting high quality seed to increase food security, using corn and soybean as models for cereal and legume crops. Seed exhibiting high viability and vigor is required to produce the optimum plant density and to minimize the frequency of both gaps in rows. Plant densities below target levels, as demonstrated empirically and using the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) crop models, cause significant reductions in crop yield. Yield losses of 30-40% are possible in the case of corn, 15-20% losses for soybean. Similarly, uneven plant stands exemplified by large deviations from equidistant spacing in rows also causes additional yield loss, up to 30% even when overall plant population targets are met. Establishment of quality plant stands requires the planting of high vigor seeds in a quality seed bed. The importance of quality seed underscores the potential benefits that could be realized by organizing communities with small shareholder farmer to identify, condition, and properly store crop seeds.