The influence of climatic factors and crop nutrition on seed vigour in wheat

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Conference Title

Australian Society of Agronomy 11th Annual Conference 2003: Solutions for a Better Environment

Place of Publication



Seed vigour, wheat, field emergence, germination speed, environmental influences, nutrition


Agronomy and Crop Sciences


Seed vigour is the first important factor that influences plant growth and yield. Time of sowing, frost, nutrition and falling numbers are the major environmental/management factors in Western Australia that can influence seed vigour. We collected seed lots from field experiments, or fields where these factors had differentially affected the treatments, and conducted seed vigour tests in the field or in controlled environment rooms using a weed-free, sandy loam soil. Time of sowing of the seed crop could affect germinability through seasonal finish conditions but speed of field emergence remained unaffected in our experiments. While light frost did not affect germinability, heavy frost significantly reduced percentage of germination. Germination speed was not influenced. Seeds contrasting for falling numbers (between about 200 and 400 seconds) had similar seed vigour and were influenced to the same extent by seeding depth. Crop nutrition (N, P, K and trace elements) influenced both the speed and percentage of field emergence. We conclude that most of the prevalent climatic conditions influenced only germination percentage while nutrition affected germination speed as well. The appropriate strategy for quality seed production would be to sow at the optimum time for each cultivar and apply sufficient quantities of P, K and trace elements to avoid any deficiency (rates may need to be slightly higher than the economic optimum for a grain crop).