Pasture growers seeking seed for the 2012 season have been warned to avoid disappointment by purchasing certified seed.
There have been recent reports of pasture seed being sold by unauthorised sellers, which is in breach of both the Seeds Act and the Plant Breeders Rights Act.
Department of Agriculture and Food senior researcher Brad Nutt said growers not only risked poor seed performance but the practise was unfair on the wider industry.
“Most new cultivars are subject to Plant Breeders Rights (PBR), where the proceeds from royalties are fed back into the development of new cultivars for the benefit of all growers,” Mr Nutt said.
Varieties with a PBR logo may only be sold by authorised sellers. The department is monitoring sales of pasture seed in commercial forums and will be following up where it identifies cases of sales of its PBR varieties by persons without a license.
Dr Nutt said growers needed to make sure they got what they paid for.
He said growers risked poor germination and low plant numbers, as well as weeds if they purchased the wrong type of seed.
“Soft seeded varieties of French serradella, like Eliza and Cadiz , need to be managed quite differently to hard seeded varieties like Margurita and Erica ,” he said.
“Growers are well within their rights to ask the supplier for a seed analysis statement that describes the seed characteristics like purity and percent germination.
Growers have also been warned to be careful when purchasing pre-coated seed.
“For some cultivars if treated with rhizobial inoculumn, the effectiveness of the inoculumn can diminish if the time between seed coating and planting is too long, but this is often very difficult to identify,” Dr Nutt said.
The department’s AGWEST Plant Laboratories offers a seed analysis service, as well as other commercial providers, which provides confidence for both the buyer and the seller.