This page is designed to give you (the consumer) a better understanding of how seed is traded. With this information, you will not only be able to make more informed decisions on how to purchase seed to get the best value for your money but also understand how much seed is good enough for the surface area (ft2, yd2, acres, etc.) that you are trying to plant. Furthermore, this section will help you understand what else is in your seed to perhaps eliminate unwanted crops in your future pasture or turf.
Imagine having two vendors that sell Buffel T-4464 grass seed. Vendor "A" sells their seed for $5.75/Lb and Vendor "B" sells their seed for $4.50/Lb. Which is the better buy? The above information doesn't tell enough to make the right decision. Let's put more information into this example to help us make the best decision:
- sells their seed for $5.75/Lb
- Processed seed
- Purity = 97%
- Total Germination = 90%
- Inert Matter = 2.99%
- Weed Seed = 0.01%
- Other Crop = 0.00%
- Noxious Weed = None
- Seed tag attached to bag
- Seed tag shows a Texas Permit #
What does all of the information above mean? It is actually very simple. We will explain each line for you.
- sells their seed for $5.75/Lb - the price is $5.75 per bulk pound of seed. The vendor could have offered the seed on a $/PLS pound basis instead. PLS stands for Pure Live Seed which is the live viable seed content. We will explain PLS in more detail further down as well as showing how to calculate it.
- Processed seed means that the seed has been cleaned, tested and bagged such that the weight shown on the tag is the actual net bulk weight of the seed. Seed that is not processed could just be Field Run Seed. Field Run Seed is the same seed but the bag is the bag that was used to harvest the seed and it shows a gross weight and not a net weight. It may or may not be tested and it hasn't been cleaned.
- Total Germination - is the sum of the % Germination and % Dormant Seed. The % Germination is the percent of seed that is ready to germinate and the % dormant seed is seed that should germinate but won't germinate right away because it is currently dormant. It is normal for fresh seed to have a % dormant seed number that is high but over time, the germination inhibitor on the seed goes away and the % Germination number goes up and the % Dormant Seed number goes down. Again, the sum of the two is the Total Germination.
- Inert Matter - is weight present that is not seed for example (coating on seed, leave material, etc. that were not removed during cleaning process).
- Weed Seed - is the percent of the weight that is weed seed.
- Other Crop - is the percent of the weight that is not the grass seed or not shown under "Weed Seed."
- Noxious Weed - we are looking for this group to show "NONE." A noxious weed is a weed that has been designated by the USDA as one that cannot be imported into the USA. In some cases, you cannot ship seed with certain noxious weeds from one State to another State. Each state has a list of Noxious Weeds that are not allowed to enter. Each Country has their list as well of Noxious weeds that are not allowed into the country. Sometimes you will see seed with certain noxious weeds being trade locally. Essentially, the USDA and State Department of Agricultures are trying to quarantine these noxious weeds so they don't propagate into areas where they currently don't exist. Here is a link to the USDA list of noxious weeds: http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxiousDriver
- Seed Tag - the Texas Seed Act as well as many other states require that seed being sold have a seed tag that complies with this act. The tag must have all of the above data so you as a consumer know what you are buying. NEVER buy seed that hasn't been tested and does not have the a tag
- Texas Permit Number - our bags each have a tag and in that tag our Texas Permit Number is displayed. Your well established seed companies will have a Texas Permit Number which means that they have applied for it with the State of Texas. They would also be subject to audits from the State and they have much to loose if they don't comply with the Texas Seed Act. It is NOT legal to generate your own tags in Texas if you don't have a Texas Permit Number and it is not legal to sell seed with a tag. However, some vendors (smaller ones) may or may not test their seeds but if they do and they don't have a Texas Permit Number, they can pay the Texas Department of Agriculture to generate tags for them; however, a TDA tag on the bag doesn't mean that the seed matches the tag. For this reason, buy seed from reputable Seed Companies.