OSU Seed Laboratory open house celebrates 100 years
The Oregon State University Seed Laboratory celebrated 100 years of continuous service to Oregon agriculture with an open house at its Corvallis, Ore., location.
The event offered hands-on displays and demonstrations of old-time and modern seed testing methods. The laboratory houses the Emil Zivney collection of tropical seeds from around the world, including the double coconut or coco-de-mere (Lodoica maldivi ca), the largest seed on the planet.
The official seed laboratory of the state of Oregon began as a cooperative venture with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1909 and continued until 1954 when the state of Oregon took over. The lab was part of the OSU agronomy department until 1916 and a section of the crop and soil science department since then. As it grew, with the help of the seed industry, it moved first to a World War II-era Quonset hut in 1946 and in 1989 into its current quarters, a custom-designed facility.
“Up to 30,000 tests are performed in a typical year for seed growers, cleaners and dealers that depend on the information for business and seed lot labeling,” said Adriel Garay, manager of the seed lab. Twenty-two permanent staff and 10 to 20 seasonal employees serve thousands of customers in Oregon and beyond.
“Seeds sold in interstate and international commerce must be tested and labeled,” Garay said. “The most frequent tests include purity, germination and noxious weed exams. However, many additional and special tests are frequently used.”
Test results are used by the Oregon Seed Certification Service to issue Blue Tag, or certified designation, and by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, to issue the Gold Sod Quality Tag. Recently accredited by the International Seed Testing Association, the OSU seed lab also can issue International Seed Testing Association Blue and Orange Certificates used in the international market.
The laboratory has contributed to testing method development for many years. In partnership with Corvallis Mater Seed Equipment, lab researchers developed the Ergostation, an ergonomically designed seed inspection workstation sold internationally.
During the open house, lab personnel demonstrated uniform seed-blowing protocols, which use calibrated air velocity. “This technology has great potential applications for grass and other seeds,” Garay said. “The lab is also initiating new research to assist seed growers, cleaners and dealers.”
For more information visit the OSU Seed Laboratory Web site, http://seedlab.oregonstate.edu.