Ever wonder how your certified seed is free from weeds?

Regular crops inspections ensure that Irish crops destined for the seed market are clean of both weeds and off-types, according to the Irish Seed Trade Association (ISTA).

The overall aim, it says, is to ensure the quality and purity of the crop is at a superior level as these seed crops will be sold commercially.

Stringent crop inspections and monitoring allows for the production of excellent quality crops in Ireland year-after-year.

Additionally, it gives Irish farmers peace of mind when purchasing certified seed that has been produced to an excellent quality and purity standard.

Carrying out regular inspections allows potential issues to be identified earlier and rectified quicker in the season.

According to the ISTA, rogueing is just one procedure used to ensure the purity of certified seed produced here in Ireland.

Rogueing is the removal of any unwanted plants (weeds and off-types) by hand from a crop and it is routine for both the Department of Agriculture and seed companies to carry out this process.

During the rogueing stage, characteristics observed are; the plants themselves, weed contamination and in the case of Oilseed Rape (OSR) the leaf shape is observed.

For cereal crops, it says, regular crop inspections are carried out to identify weeds or wild oats that may be present in the field.

One of the most common weeds present in cereal crops are wild oats.

It also says that special care must be taken to inspect near hedge rows, around ESB poles or any sheds present in the field.

These areas may be home to weeds or wild oats, as the sprayer’s boom is not able to get close enough.

Key considerations for crop inspections:
  1. Continually monitor the stage of the crop to judge optimum rogueing time
  2. Note the level of off-types present to judge number of roguers required
  3. Recruit a trained eye as experienced roguers are invaluable in identifying the off-types/weed species
  4. A team leader should be present at all times to offer guidance to roguers and for spot checks
  5. A clean crop at the end of rogueing process gives superior quality and purity to the seed