(May 9, 2024) - Every season has its challenges. The key to overcoming those challenges begins with high quality, healthy seeds. In fact, seed quality affects yield potential more than any other input. That’s why Syngenta Vegetable Seed facilities work to safeguard and test seed quality at every step of the process.

Ensuring High Quality Seed at Every Step

The Pasco, WA Syngenta facility is a prime example of the innovation involved in ensuring seed quality. Sweet corn seed is conditioned and packaged at this facility using the latest technology. 

For example, many companies sort and check sweet corn seed by hand using only the human eye to identify errors as seed goes by on a conveyor belt. However, at the Pasco facility, state-of-the-art color sorters use RGB and lasers to sort seed. This sorting technology catches any potential defects including fungus, mechanical damage or any other issues that would reduce seed quality.

Not only does the color sorting technology eliminate mistakes, it also has reduced the time it takes sort seed by up to 50 percent. Additionally, it reduces waste by ensuring only the individual seeds with quality issues are left out.

Technology is also used on the packaging line at the Pasco facility, further eliminating the possibility for human error. Rather than counting the more than 100,000 sweet corn seeds (or any type of seed including small-seeded vegetables) that go into each bag, robotics ensure consistency and quality at every step in the process.

Testing for Quality and Seed Health

Quality doesn’t stop at seed sorting and packaging. Before ever making it to the field, seed undergoes rigorous testing to ensure quality and health.

Seed health tests mean that high-value vegetable seeds are free from contaminants, like bacteria, that could destroy a crop. It’s why every single seed lot distributed is evaluated to ensure there are no abnormalities such as bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Physical purity tests look for foreign matter and or off-type seed, and lots can be rejected if too much are found. Seed is also tested for germination to provide the best early season start for growers. Finally, vigor tests check for how seeds will stand up to adverse growing conditions.

These checks are how Syngenta Vegetable Seeds ensures customers receive the specific seed they ordered. Using technology and testing together, we create the highest quality, healthy seed required for a successful growing season. 

Laboratory Accreditation

Each country has its own certification agency and unique requirements for seed delivery. It’s a complex process that Syngenta Vegetable Seeds is dedicated to getting right.

For example, the Nampa, Idaho lab is part of the National Seed Health System, a program through the Iowa State University Seed Science Center. This program, which is authorized by the USDA-APHIS, provides federal phytosanitary certificates, or a set of requirements relating to the health of plants for international trade.

As a National Seed Health System accredited lab, the Nampa facility has third-parties visit the labs to review and approve testing methods. This approval means that Syngenta Vegetable Seeds facilities can issue certificates allowing the import and export of seed.

The high-tech testing process at Syngenta Vegetable Seeds is the cornerstone of safeguarding the most important investment to growers: Seed. The meticulous dedication to seed health through testing is an assurance that each seed has its best chance at success.