What are “The 3 Critical Seed Tests”?

A germination test is an integral part of a seed quality regime and is vital for assessing seed viability. Beyond germination, we at 20/20 Seed Labs Inc. consider the 3 critical seed tests to be a vigour test, a thousand kernel weight test and a disease diagnostic profile to assess the range of seed borne diseases that may be present on the seed.

Why are These 3 Tests Critical?

These 3 tests, in conjunction with the germination test, form the framework for a successful crop. A vigour test is a stress test which has been developed to determine the field planting potential and a complete performance profile for a wide range of field conditions. The vigour result will be lower than the germination and can be indicative of seedling establishment if the field conditions are less than optimum. This is a very useful number when used together with the thousand kernel weight. The health of the seed is also important and is often overlooked, knowing what pathogens are present can give you the information you need to make an educated decision about the end use of the seed.

“The 3 critical tests” can assist in determining the correct amount of seed to purchase (or clean) and then plant at an appropriate seeding rate. These tests form the basis for a uniform seedling establishment which should be used to achieve an optimal plant stand. These factors can have a large influence on nutrient utilization, herbicide utilization, and crop maturity.

How Can These “3 Critical Seed Tests” Increase Profitability?

Each of the tests can provide useful information on their own, but they can provide the most benefit when used in conjunction with each other.

The germination, vigour, and thousand kernel weight test results are entered in a seeding rate calculator to determine the appropriate seeding rate. The results from these tests with a seeding rate calculator are a very accurate indicator of how many planted seeds will develop into healthy seedlings. Please use the following link to access the seeding calculator posted on Alberta Agriculture’s Ropin the Web website, http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app21/ldcalc

Please note that the emergence mortality rate can be accomplished by using the non vigourous seedlings from the vigour number. Example if the vigour is 80% use 20% as your emergence mortality rate.

The Fungal Screen™ for cereals and the Complete Disease Diagnostic™ for pulses assess the seed for all the important seed borne diseases.  This valuable assessment of seed borne diseases can determine:

1. If the seed is highly infected with one or more diseases and should be replaced.

2. If the seed has diseases that can be controlled with a registered seed treatment.     

3. If the seed has a seed borne disease that would be best controlled with a seed treatment that has active ingredients for the greatest control.

 (20/20 Seed Labs Inc. will hand treat a small sample for you to determine which seed treatment is best suited to your needs.)


Knowing the quality of your seed gives you the ability to:

1. Determine the optimal seeding rate.

2. Have a desired and uniform plant stand.


 A crop that is uniform in growth and density will:

1. Provide a proper canopy to assist with weed control.

2. Reduce the chances of crop disease issues.

3. Better utilize nutrient inputs so you can apply only what the crop requires.

4. Allow a more focused approach to herbicides and fungicides application.

5. Mature evenly and permit an earlier harvest.

6. Have less immature seed with improved storage and longevity.


Save thousands of dollars by controlling and/or reducing major crop inputs in a field where high quality seed has been planted, and reap the benefits of earning thousands of dollars by producing and selling high quality grain.


 How Do I Get “The 3 Critical Seed Tests”?

These tests can be performed on any cereal (wheat, oats, barley and rye) or pulse seed samples (peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas).

Requesting “The 3 Critical Seed Tests” on the sample submission form, the sample bag, or online sample submission, will give you the information that you need to make informed business decisions.