Wheat is a basic food raw material; and, barley is an important input of feed industry. Inadequate rain fall and inconvenient climate and soil conditions in grain sowing areas of Turkey make planting of wheat and barley without alternative. Considering that 60% of daily calorie requirement is met by wheat and that wheat consumption per capita is around 175-225 kg, wheat production is a critical issue in Turkey.
Of 27 million hectares of arable land in Turkey, 9.3 million is used for wheat production, 3.6 million is used for barley production and 5.1 million is followed. Considering that wheat and barley is produced in followed areas, 85% of Turkish farmers are the producers of wheat and barley.
Although 1.8 million tonnes of wheat seeds and 750 thousand tonnes of barley seeds are sowed per year in Turkey and 75% of these seeds are registered varieties, wheat yield in Turkey is nearly 190-220 kg, which is under the average of the World.
In order to increase agricultural productivity, certified seeds of varieties with higher genetic potential should be sowed in proper regions through proper growing technics. Improved varieties and quality seeds increase productivity, reduce production risk and therefore increase farmers’ income.
Technically, sowed seeds should be replaced by certified seeds once in three years. In this respect, 627 thousand tonnes of certified wheat seeds and 250 thousand tonnes of certified barley seeds should be used annually in Turkey. Where certified seed use in developed countries is over 50 %, this rate is around 10-15 % in Turkey.
Although all conditions are in optimum level for plant growing in agriculture, sufficient crop yield depends on the quality of used seeds. It is impossible to get higher yield from poor quality seeds. Production potential and other desired characteristics of seed limit the production. Plant production inputs such as fertilizer, chemical, etc. used in growing only help to realize the production potential of seeds.
Seed is the most important input for the cultivation of plants. Success of farmers depends on the seed quality of plants they grow. Even other conditions are provided, it is impossible to get higher yield from the varieties not adapted to the environment well. In the light of all these views, seed is the principle and the most significant input and technological element for increasing agricultural productivity and for reducing production cost.
Seed Certification Process is Gradual and has Certain Production Period: Production period for basic seeds having the purity of variety produced from pre-basic seeds is 2 years, for registered seeds produced from basic seeds is 1 year, and for certified seeds having genetic, biological and physical purity of varieties produced from basic and registered seeds is 3 years.
Field is selected with care: Seed production is a field of occupation requiring meticulous work. Fields where seeds are produced are prepared with care. In order to prevent the mix of varieties, they should be sowed in fields free from other varieties. Moreover, proper growing technics should be used for successful plant seed production. Besides, isolation distances should be left between fields in order to avoid mechanical contamination. On the other hand, the rotation conditions for previous crop carry importance in this respect. Whether the cropping conditions are suitable for plants is checked beforehand.
The Field is Made Free from Ears: Before harvesting, each square meter of parcels to be used for seed production is toured. In yellow maturity stage when variety mixture and diseased plants are seen frequently; other varieties and species, other grain varieties, harmful weeds and diseased ears are removed from the field by hand.
Controlled in Laboratory: In order to give certificate or report for samples selected in Modern Seed Preparing Facilities, certificates of basic, registered or certified seeds implying that they are certified are given for samples. According to their purity and germination in respect of laboratory analysis and tests, the samples are given certificates showing that they are basic, registered and certified seeds. When they are controlled, the seeds are given seed analysis reports. Seeds with certification report are distributed to Turkish farmers in OECD standards.
Higher in Genetic Potential: The most prominent feature of seed is its genetic structure. As known, significant increase in productivity can be seen through introduction of new and superior plant varieties into agricultural production. Conducted research showed that improved varieties provide nearly 50% increase in productivity when compared to village varieties and local populations. Many new plant varieties obtained every year as a result of improvement activities give better results in respect of many features in particular productivity, quality, resistance to diseases and pests and maturity period, compared to others improved before. Therefore, such seeds are preferred by the producers.
Have Higher Capacity in Germination and Shooting: In addition to benefits arose from genetic superiority, productivity also increases through agricultural use of seeds which have suitable physiologic characteristics such as germination and shooting, which are not contaminated with disease agents or pests, and which are conserved with chemicals against harmful agents. In seeds produced in compliance with the procedure, power of germination and shooting is higher. Therefore, the productivity of plants grown from healthy seeds which are not affected by unsuitable environmental conditions is also higher. As a result of research, it has been found that the seeds with higher germination and shooting capacity give productivity nearly 10-20% more than the low-quality seeds of same variety, on condition that they are sowed in the same plant distances and produced under similar growing conditions.
Selected and Disinfected in Modern Facilities: Certified seeds produced in modern seed production facilities of TİGEM are completely taken under control against smut disease through various methods. With the application of liquid disinfection against smut disease, an effective disinfection method, environmental pollution is avoided and the soil is covered with zinc which increases blooming capacity and promotes early maturity. In this manner, the seeds with certification label are prepared for distribution.
Economically Efficient in Input: Number of seeds to be sown per square meter is determined by sowing time, climatic and soil conditions of region, purpose of sowing as well as 1000 kernel weight, purity and biological values of varieties to be grown. The research conducted in Çumra Town of Konya Province estimated that this amount is 500 seeds while the amount of certified seeds to be sown per decare is 20-22 kg. While 40% of farmers in the province centre of Konya sow 25-30 kg seeds per decare, 30% of them use 30 kg seeds per decare. As proven by the research, the farmers used 30-66% more seeds in their production activity.
Increased Productivity in Production: Use of improved varieties and quality seeds in agriculture provide considerable benefits both for agricultural enterprises and for regional or national economies. Increase in productivity and quality is one of these benefits. Moreover, certified grain seeds provide increase in productivity by 20-25 % and therefore increase the income of farmers. In case of the use of plant varieties with low genetic potential and of low-quality seeds in agricultural production, it is generally impossible to get benefit from other inputs. In this respect, it is required to use quality seeds with higher genetic potential in order to maximize the effects of other inputs on productivity in plant production.
Certified seeds have higher quality: Out of varieties, climatic and soil characteristics which affect quality from the use of seed to harvest in Turkey, the factors such as seed, sunn pest and wheat bug, other varieties and species, foreign matters, contamination, ranking and classification as per the seed size all affect the wheat quality negatively. With respect to seed production, TİGEM is the largest seed production organization of Turkey with its integrated and clean lands, its infrastructure in seed production, its fund of knowledge, and its capacity for seed processing and storage facilities.
Certified Seeds are Healthy: Seed production requires time, power, cost and care. Due to fungal, bacterial and viral diseases in grain, serious loss can be seen in crops. Great part of these diseases is carried to the field and even from one country to other through seeds. 40 disease types in wheat and 30 in barley have been identified. Diseases carried through seeds in seed production are of great importance in respect to crop loss, wrinkled seed, formation of small grains, darkening on the top of seeds and decrease in shooting capacity. Bunts, smuts, barley stripe disease and nematodes are important pathogens carried through seeds. When such unhealthy seeds are sown, shooting and germination capacity becomes low; and, seedlings become weak. Diseases may occur in seeds, seedlings or in any phase of growing and may affect the whole or some part of plants.
Certified Seed Production Requires Experience: With its 37 enterprises all over the country, TİGEM has automatically solved the ecologic adaptation problem of seeds produced in these enterprises. The varieties not coming into prominence in adaptation tests carried out in the enterprises are not included in production program. In this sense, TİGEM enterprises are constantly under the supervision of farmers around.
With its grain seed processing and production facilities with 287 tonnes/hour capacity, TİGEM has a capacity to meet real seed demand of Turkey between July and October. On the other hand, it has the capacity to store seeds in the same amount. The situation is also same for alfalfa, other fodder crops and cotton.
In the fields where seed production will be carried out;
- Planting not complying with regulations on previous crop rule and seed purity will damage seeds in the field.
- Isolation distance: In order to prevent plants from cross-pollination during blooming, they require isolation distance by 2-3 meters to 3000 meters. In order to apply isolation distance, broader lands are required.
- Crop rotation: Since sowing same crops in the same field successively will cause diseases transmitted through nematodes, fusarium and seeds, effective crop rotation is required for seed production.
- Since foreign varieties can be carried through animal waste and wool, seed production should be carried out in the lands free from animals.
- Effective weed management; Harmful and quality damaging weed seeds (dodder, cephalaria, ryegrass, etc.) should be taken under control in the field and their transmission to the other regions of country through seeds should be prevented.
- Establishment of infrastructure facilities in broader lands and execution of tests and demonstration regarding seed production will lead to more correct results.
- Integration of TİGEM lands gives great opportunity also for seed production companies of private sector.
- Since ecologic characteristics such as prior crop rotation and isolation distance have great importance for hybrid seed production, such requirements are best met by TİGEM lands.
Safety in Seed Production: It is important for producers to believe in the safety of their seeds. Such as counterfeit books and cassettes sold in the market, also hybrid seeds can be counterfeited and launched to the market. For years, parent lines and F1 cross varieties of companies making joint production with TİGEM have been conserved with care. For that reason, private sector companies are increasing their demands year by year. TİGEM is making joint production with 24 seed production companies in an area of 44.000 decares this year.