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Part 2: Necessary Conditions for Successful Production of Quality Seeds

This blog post is the second part of an article that is made up of three parts. [READ PART 1].

The size of farm is very important when considering seed production because of the need to maintain some isolation distance depending on the type of crops to be planted. This is one of the reasons why seed production is different from grain production. For example, production of breeder seed of maize requires an isolation distance of at least 400 meters while foundation seed and certified seed of maize require minimum isolation distance of 300 meters and 200 meters respectively. The purpose of isolation distance is to ensure genetic purity and prevent contamination from neighbouring farms. Therefore, adequately large farm is a necessary condition for seed production.

Rain-fed production of seed has its limitation especially during period of low rainfall or dry season. Hence, the availability of alternative source of water (such as dam, stream, among others) near the seed farm, for the purpose of irrigation is also an important condition for successful seed production.

Seed is living, and undergoes deterioration when it is not stored under favourable condition after being harvested. Therefore, in a situation where storage facilities are not available, an important condition for seed production is the availability of market opportunities for the seeds. Also, the seeds should be produced at a location that is close to accessible road and market.

The edaphic factors or soil-related conditions that are necessary for successful seed production are soil pH, soil structure and texture, soil topography, soil fertility and soil type.

Soil pH: This refers to the level of acidity and alkalinity in the soil. Different seed crops have different level of tolerance to soil acidity and alkalinity. Therefore, excessive soil acidity and alkalinity will have adverse effect on the growth and survival of seed crops. Soil pH also affects the release and availability of soil nutrients to plants, and also influences the activities of important soil microorganisms.

Soil Structure and Texture: The structure and texture of the soil is also an important condition for successful seed production. This is because soil structure and texture determines the level of soil aeration and percolation, influences the fertility of the soil, and affects the water-holding capacity of the soil.

Soil Topography: Soil topography refers to the shape of the farmland where seed production is to be carried out. It is a measure of the gradient and slope of the farmland. Steep and gentle slopes encourage soil erosion while farmland with even or flat slope (that is, farmland with uniform topography) is very good for seed production.

Soil Fertility: The fertility status of the soil is also an important condition for successful seed production. Favourable levels of soil nutrients and organic matter are beneficial for growth and development of the seed crop. Soil that has low fertility status can be augmented with appropriate use of either organic or inorganic fertilizer.

Soil Type: The type of soil present in the farmland is also an important factor to consider for seed production. The common types of soil are sandy soil, clay soil and loamy soil. The best soil condition required for successful seed production for most crops is well-drained loamy soil because of its richness in soil nutrient and ability to hold appreciable amount of soil moisture.

This blog post is the second part of an article that is made up of three parts. [GO TO PART 3]