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Welcome to the new AnalyzeSeeds Site!

AOSA Co-Chair
Elizabeth Stewart, CSA
USDA Seed Regulatory and Testing Division
801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite C
Gastonia, NC
Phone:  704-810-8873
Fax:  704-852-4109
Elizabeth.Stewart1@usda.gov
SCST Co-Chair
Quinn Gillespie, RST
Universal Seed Company
1285 N. Main Steet
Independence, OR 97351
Phone: 360-335-6707
quinn.f.gillespie@gmail.com

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Current Issue of the Seed Technologist’s Newsletter, Volume 89 No.1

Ice Out – Seeds In
A view of the Seed World from Central Maine

Its official: The majority of lakes in Maine are officially at Ice Out; the only stubborn exception being Lake Mooselookmeguntic (go ahead, try to say that again…) which still has a bit of ice as of April 21. Yes, there is an actual, official agency monitoring this important event all over the many bodies of water in Maine.

Ice Out is when it is time to get seeds started for that perfect dream garden here in New England; and if you’re like most folks here at Johnny’s Seeds, you already have the visuals in your mind for your personal cache of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, corn, and brightly colored peppers.

The greenhouse crew here at Johnny’s has been busy starting the seedlings for the Johnny’s Trial and Research farm; tens of thousands of seedlings are in the works, in crops ranging from Agrostema to Zinnia, from Abelmoschus esculens to Zea Mays.

We all of course have our own favorites, and are just a little bit proud to be picky about which specific varieties of each crop is our own personal favorite. I am admittedly a cucurbita maxima ‘snob’. I spotted some basil started in an empty tuna fish can on a coworker’s desk the other day. One unique thing about Johnny’s employee-owners is our propensity to be seed hoarders, especially in the QA seed lab. There is no known cure for this phenomenon. We can’t help but be prone to it.

This is also the time of year our seed lab handles samples of a very wide assortment of crops; and I am personally very proud of our Seed Analysts’ prowess at keeping track of all the various test methods and germination techniques. Johnny’s offers over 2000 different seeded items for sale, from flower seed lots that look like dust to fava beans. I have nothing but respect for our entire operations crew at Johnny’s at properly handling the wide variety of crops that we purchase, test and repackage.

The research farm is starting to take shape again, with beds being prepared for all of the trials. I asked our seasoned Farm Manager about how many times a stray moose had perhaps made their mark, not necessarily in a good way, on our trial fields.

One incident in 1988 is the only one of record with an actual citing of the Bull Moose, who had unfortunately put the recently installed “deer fence” to the test. The results confirmed that a deer fence is essentially child’s play for a Bull Moose. That particular moose had a nice snack of several large areas of a field planted with soybeans.

Ice out, seeds in. Get out there and get things going! The soil is calling us all.

Bonita Nicolas, Quality Assurance Manager for Johnny’s Selected Seeds

AOSA/SCST Field Tour Summary 2016

The AOSA/SCST meeting in Portland included a very successful field tour for 2016. Reporting on this tour as a guy from the Midwest in the middle of the Corn Belt, I hope I can do it justice.  Three tour busses left the hotel on June 7th at 11 am.  The agenda included four stops in the agricultural area south of Portland.  These included Mountain View Seeds, EZ Orchards, Universal Seed, and Rogue Brewery.

The ride to the first stop was perhaps as entertaining as the tours themselves. One could see at least all of the following crops: hops, grasses, lettuce, peas, poppies, multiple fruit trees, multiple berry crops, garlic, onions, hazelnuts, corn, wheat, radish, sod farms, blueberries, cherries, Christmas trees, and mint.  Other observations from the ride that stood out were the pollen clouds over the grass seed fields, the view of Mt Hood, a good lunch, and the lead bus almost hit a truck that pulled out in front of it.

At Mountain View Seeds the group walked through their facilities and observed the equipment needed to dry, clean, and package different grass seeds. I believe they said they could handle 20 million pounds of turf grass per season, including tall fescues, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass among others.  Quite a few people were having their allergies act up at this facility, including myself, but it was impressive nonetheless.

Next was the EZ Orchards, which included an apple orchard and strawberry farm. They have cider specific apples for cider through the traditional fermenting process.  It was a place with a farm tourism emphasis and they mentioned they had a corn maze and pumpkins in the past.  The highlight of this stop was the absolutely delicious multi berry shortcake sundae with blueberries, Logan berries, & red raspberries.  More traditional strawberry shortcake was also an option.

At Universal Seed, a third party seed producer, the group witnessed a seed cleaning facility that included a color sorter, spirals for brassica, multiple screen cleaners, and gravity scalping. Other pieces of equipment included a de-bearder, for chard and spinach, and an indent (rotating drum) air separation system.  Some of the other seeds cleaned and packaged at this facility included, onions, Chinese kale, and asparagus.

The last stop was a favorite of many, the Rogue Brewery Farm. The group was given free samples of their different brews including some that contained the hops grown on that exact location.  The tour included a description of how the hops were grown, harvested, dried, and stripped from the vines.  The BBQ meal was excellent and quite complimentary to the brews on tap.  Personally, I was very hoppy that we were able to spend so much time there in hop heaven.

Brad Johnson

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