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A farm test for seed quality in lupins

P.B. Goodwin1 and MD Samiruddin2

1 Department of Agronomy and Horticultural Science, University of Sydney, N.S.W. 2006.
Present address: B.A.D.C., Krishi Bhavan, Dacca-2. Bangladesh.

Lupins are becoming a major crop in the southern Australian wheatbelt. Farmers usually produce their own seed, and occasionally produce low density crops because of the poor quality of their seed. At least part of the problem is that a seed lot may look perfectly sound. but show poor germination in the field.

We have compared the following tests, to see which are most promising as predictors of field performance: bulk electro-conductivity, individual seed electro-conductivity, seedling evaluation after germination in a glasshouse at 24 /19C (day/night, 12 hr ea) in 1:1:1 sand/peat/vermiculite, and a peat test. The peat test is carried out as follows: 150 g of peat moss is placed in a 2 litre ice cream carton. No holes are punched in the carton. 200 ml of water is well mixed with the peat, and 25 seeds from the seed lot are planted in the moist peat at a depth of 2 cm. The peat is pressed down over the seeds. Four to eight cartons, each with 25 seeds, are used for each seed lot being tested. The cartons are held at room temperature in the light and no extra water is added. The surface of the peat forms a crust which the lupin seedlings have to push through. Eight days after planting the number of completely normal lupin plants is counted. Within the temperature range 18-27C the results of this test are not sensitive to temperature.

The seventeen seed lots of Lupinus angustifolius cv Unicrop subjected to these tests were also planted in the field at 'Lansdowne', a University farm near Camden. The correlations between the tests and the percentage normal plants five weeks after planting, and final grain yield, are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Correlation coefficients (r), intercepts (a) and slopes (b) of regression equations showing relationships between seed tests and field performance.

The peat test, which requires no specialised equipment, predicted field performance as well as any of the other tests. It is recommended for further evaluation as a farm test for seed quality in lupins.

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