Certified seed is reliable seed

To be certified, every grass-seed variety has to be registered. That means it has to be listed on one of the Danish, EU, or OECD plant-variety catalogues. To be sold within the EU, however, the variety must be on the Danish or EU catalogues.

Criteria for registration

No seed gets a listing on any plant-variety catalogue without first undergoing comprehensive technical analysis. It must meet standards for:

  • Distinctness
  • Uniformity
  • Stability
  • Agricultural value based on:
    • Yield
    • Resistance to harmful organisms
    • Response to the environment
    • Quality characteristics

Seed generations or categories

Certification standards depend on the generation or 'category' of a seed. In the beginning we select a small portion of the breeder material for reproduction. This material is not necessarily produced under official control. All subsequent generations have to be under the strict control of an official certification authority.

The requirements for first generations (prebasic and basic seed) are higher than for later generations of certified seeds (C1/C2). The later generations are the basis on which we produce pure, uniform certified seeds of high quality.

Seeds on a tray being tested.

Maintaining uniformity

We keep a standard sample of every variety. The standard is a living example of how each variety should perform. Comparing samples of certified seeds to the standard is known as post control. At our Post Control Station we sow samples of certified seed next to the standard sample. By comparing the two samples throughout the growing season, we can verify that the certified samples perform exactly like the standard. It's a guarantee of uniformity.

Field inspections

All fields used for seed breeding are inspected by official or authorised field inspectors. For these early generations of a variety, the inspectors apply the most demanding standards. They're checking:

  • Identity and purity of variety
  • Purity of species
  • Presence of wild oats (Avena fatua)
  • Proximity to cross-pollinating species
  • Weeds
  • Diseases

Sampling and analysis

Seed that passes the field-inspection tests is harvested and cleaned. An authorised seed sampler then seals and labels the seed lot, and takes samples for testing.

All seed testing takes place at ISTA accredited laboratories. They send their results direct to the regulating authorities. If the sample fails to meet EU standards, the seed lot cannot be certified. The labels are removed from the seed lot.

Sampling bags with the seeds for testing