Preparing for seed handling & treatment: it starts in the bag

Friday, 21 February 2020

The first step is to estimate the likely period between delivery and planting as this will determine which storage strategy to adopt. Upon delivery, it’s essential to inspect seed consignments for diseases and quality, and to make sure that what you have received matches your order.

It’s imperative that seed be stored in a CIPC-free environment.

Storing for less than a week

If you are planting is within a week of delivery, seed can remain in the bag. Make sure to leave some space around all bags (15 to 30 cm) to maximise airflow, for example by placing bags on pallets and leaving them in a breezy undercover environment. Ventilation could be natural or using a fan.

Storing for 1-2 weeks

Beyond a week, the likelihood of getting condensation in seed bags increases. In this case, it is best to decant seeds into boxes. If this is not an option, you could still leave seeds in bags but close monitoring is required to ensure that condensation does not build up in the middle of the bag. If possible, store in a controlled temperature environment.

Storing for 2 weeks +

With longer term storage, decanting into boxes is recommended. Seed should then be cured and cooled down to the holding temperature. The longer the storage period, the colder the store should be for example down to 3 °C.  A slightly higher holding temperature of 4-5 °C may be more suitable when storing for a few weeks.

If a seed store is not available, condensation and sprouting can be minimised by running fans at suitable times depending on ambient temperature, for example. An option to improve ventilation is to build a temporary plenum chamber for use with a portable fan (see image). Be sure to monitor regularly for any quality deterioration.

                         Temporary plenum wall

Seed treatment

Application of a seed treatment ahead of the planting season will help control field disease. If a treatment is to be applied the AHDB Tuber Treatment Factsheet outlines the factors to be considered together with the pros and cons of any particular application strategy.

For further information on the subject, visit the Storage Hub or contact us for advice on the Storage Advice Line 0800 02 82 111 or via