Alfalfa and clover seeds are popular choices for forage and pasture applications. These crops are known for their high nutritional value and ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. In order to ensure a healthy and bountiful harvest, it is important to treat these seeds properly before planting.
What is seed treatment?
Seed treatment is a process of treating seeds with chemicals or other biological agents to improve their performance.
The objectives of seed treatment include:
- Increasing seed germination rates
- Protecting seeds from disease
- Improving seedling vigor
- Increasing seedling survival rates
- Reducing the need for chemical pesticides
Several different seed treatments are available, each with its own benefits. Here are five of the most popular seed treatment methods for alfalfa and clover seeds:
- Soak the seeds in water overnight before planting
Soaking the seeds in water overnight before planting helps hydrate the seeds and make them more pliable, improving germination rates. Additionally, soaking the seeds can also help to remove any harmful chemicals that may be present in the seed coat.
- Subject the seeds to pressure
You can use a pressure cooker to subject seeds to high pressures. Studies have shown that pressure affects germination in several ways. For example, pressure can increase the germination rate, decrease the time required for germination, or improve the quality of the germinated seed. In addition, pressure can also affect the direction of germination, causing seeds to germinate more evenly.
- Exposing the seeds to high temperatures
Exposing alfalfa seeds to high temperatures for 1-2 days before sowing can improve their germination and establishment, according to research. This heat treatment helps to break down the seed coat and allows water and nutrients to enter the seed more easily, promoting faster germination. High temperatures also help to kill any harmful bacteria or fungi that may be present on the seed surface.
- Scarify the seeds
Scarifying seeds is a process of breaking through the seed coat to allow water and oxygen to reach the embryo inside. This can be done by scoring the seed coat with a sharp knife or by abrading it with sandpaper. Scarification is often used for seeds with hard seed coats.
- Inoculate the seeds
Inoculant is a powder or liquid containing live bacteria (rhizobacteria) that is used to inoculate legume seeds before planting. The bacteria colonize the roots of the legume plant and form nodules. Nodules are small, round growths that contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Seed treatment with Prevail Inoculant will provide you with a season of high-yield forage for your livestock.
Seed treatment for alfalfa and clover seeds is an important part of the overall production process. There are a variety of seed treatments available, so it is important to consult with a professional to determine the best option for your farm.
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