The journey of a seed

April 16, 2015
Photo credit: CIMMYT

Photo credit: CIMMYT

CIMMYT Day activities included a session on seed preparation and distribution, including standard procedures of CIMMYT’s Seed Inspection and Distribution Unit (SIDU), which shipped over 45 tons of seed in the last year.

Preparing seed for distribution is a multi-step process. First, the seed must undergo rigorous testing in CIMMYT’s Seed Health Laboratory (SHL). This testing ensures that seed distributed by CIMMYT is disease free, and of exceptional quality. Once the seed is approved, it is then prepared for distribution.

Photo credit: CIMMYT

Photo credit: CIMMYT

Before packing, the seed is washed in a sterilizing solution in preparation for its treatment. For maize, the treatment consists of both a fungicide and an insecticide, which prepare the seeds to thrive under diverse environmental conditions. For wheat, the treatment is just a fungicide. Once the seeds have been treated and dried, they are ready to be packaged for shipment.

The next step in the seed preparation process consists of labeling and packaging. Machines automatically print the packet labels and measure the seed required for each package. Maize seeds are counted individually with a counting machine (pictured), wheat seeds are measured by weight.

Photo credit: CIMMYT

Photo credit: CIMMYT

Next, boxes containing the seed packets, legal paperwork and field books are prepared. According to Efren Rodriguez, Head of Data Processing and Seed Distribution, field books are the “gold” that CIMMYT reaps through its efforts. CIMMYT requests that seed recipients utilize the field books to record data, which helps CIMMYT to continuously better the quality of its seeds.


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