Promoting Seed Innovation

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Around 9% of the UK arable area is dedicated to growing seed.

Seed provenance

Greater emphasis is now being placed on preserving the identity of individual varieties after harvest. This conserves quality characteristics and helps to meet consumer demands for assurances about the integrity and traceability of their food.

Seed certification underpins the health and purity status of the major arable crops in the UK. It offers an independent benchmark of quality which buyers of seed and their customers depend on. An approved variety of seed can only be offered for sale if it meets

strict quality criteria dictated by UK law. This official seed certification system offers an independent assurance of quality to growers because crops are inspected in the field by an official or licenced crop inspector.

There are minimum standards that apply for varietal identity, purity, and germination of seed. This also extends to strict limits regarding seed-borne diseases, and the presence of physical impurities such as weed seeds.

Best practice

Certified seed offers the reassurance of quality and traceability. Growers should only farm save for one generation and ensure it is kept separate with good storage practices. It is also important for seed to be cleaned and treated where needed.

Refreshing seed is important to ensure the purity and identity of the chosen variety. By refreshing varieties growers can ensure the most up to date genetics and benefit from the research and development that is continually operating to improve crop yields.

corn field

UK plant breeders invest on average 15% of their sales into research and development to produce new and improved varieties.


National Listing is no guarantee of success in the market place. Further non-statutory trials are conducted each year to compare the agronomic performance and end-use quality of the best varieties. These independent trials provide the basis for detailed variety information and advice to growers and their customers.