Seed certification is an international system used to ensure the genetic and physical purity of field crop seed. White, violet, or blue tags contain specific information required by the Federal Seed Act. Certified seed is the best guarantee the buyer is getting quality seed of known identity and physical purity.
Certified seed is inspected in the seed production field to insure there are no genetic off-types, the seed used to plant the field was Foundation or Registered class of certified seed, and seeds were tagged correctly. The field may be inspected more than once to document that any issues during the first inspection are resolved. After cleaning, a seed sample is submitted to the Idaho State Department of Agriculture State Seed Lab for physical inspection and germination testing.
The results of the test must meet the minimum or maximum requirements for certification set by the certifying agent. Idaho has reciprocal agreements with neighboring states accepting certification of seed lots certified in other states and sold as certified seed in Idaho. The certifying agent in Idaho is the Idaho Crop Improvement Association.
Most private or licensed public varieties are covered by the federal Plant Variety Protection Act under Title V (see page 14) of the Federal Seed Act. A stewardship agreement is also signed between the purchaser of the seed and the variety developer. Stewardship agreement s are particular to each private company and apply to certified seed that is sold, traded, gifted, bartered or otherwise transferred to a third party.
Many growers find the improved genetics, as well as the genetic and physical purity of certified seed results in a yield bump which more than pays for the increase in seed cost. Curious? Use the Certified Wheat Seed Profitability Calculator to find out if certified seed is right for you.