VULNERABLE SOYABEAN SEEDS – REMEDIES Dr. Vinod H. Kalbande*
Soyabean oil seeds is very popular crop among farmers in many states in our country India and many other countries in the world. Soyabean seeds are vulnerable due to its weak and thin endosperm. As dicotiledan Soyabean oil seeds are held together with thin and lean endosperm, it is likely to split into two pieces specially when the moisture content is below 10 percent. The embryo lies in the tip of two cotyledons and so when it splits, the embryo damages and germination is lost in Soyabean seeds.
Many seed companies are facing enormous problems in Soyabean seeds quality maintenance. I have been watching during Kharif 2020 sowing season that there are tremendous complaints at field level about non-germination of Soyabean seeds in Maharashtra and few more states. The complaints are so much severe and serious that I have heard of filing criminal cases (Foujdari Gunhe) in the police stations. So many cases have reached even up to Hon. High Court in Maharashtra and huge bundle of complaints to Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare Department in few states. However, I feel we can steel handle this serious problem of germination tactfully, capably and technically well if we take care of Soyabean seeds right from harvesting till its sowing in the fields. I have worked in MSSCL as CGM till 2016 and we faced horrible Soyabean germination problems and suffered quite financial losses and defamation one and half decades ago.
However, thereafter we have tackled Soyabean seeds germination problem technically and highly professionally and we were able to reduce Soyabean germination problems to almost negligible level for almost 10 years thereafter. In this era of fast communications technology like in most fields, there could be possibility of fake complaints during the sowing season for short term monetary benefits. To tackle such fake public complaints is also big problematic issue. Govt Departments are also not equipped all the time and all the places to arrest fake germination complaints. I have written a technical book and several circulars for Soyabean seeds quality improvement to set off germination problem and also to avoid fake germination complaints while working in MSSCL.
Since the problem has reappeared in 2020 again on mass scale, So this technical article I am publishing in Gubba Seeds News letter for the benefit of seeds producer farmers, Soyabean customer farmers, seeds companies and Govt regulatory organizations to follow remedial steps to avoid such problems in future and thereby avoid National losses at all levels.
- Soybean crops when it is matured and ready for harvest in the fields and suddenly untimely rains occur then fungisicides like Thiram or Mancozeb or many other chemical fungicides and organic fungicide trichoderma Viridae powder should be spread on the standing crop to avoid mould development on Soybean seeds in the fields and later during its storage awaiting its processing.
- Soyabean seeds/grains should ideally be harvested and threshed at moisture content around 17 – 18 percent. While threshing Soyabean crop on metal threshers, the speed of rotation (RPM) of threshing drum in thresher should be around 350 – 400 only unlike for other crops. This limitation on RPM will reduce damage to Soyabean seeds at this threshing stage. Farmers may find that with reduced speed of threshing drum it may take more time to thresh Soybean seeds. But it is affordable to spend more time instead of damaging Soyabean seeds during threshing.
- After threshing it should be sundried to bring the moisture content to 14 %, where there is good sunshine in the states like MP, Chhatishgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in Nov., Dec. and Jan. months.
- While stacking the Soyabean seeds in bags in the house or ware house/godown, the height of the stack should be limited ideally to seven layers only to avoid damage to bottom layer.
- The Soyabean seeds and other seeds bags should not be filled more than 50 kg in one bag to make it convenient to handle with care and even as per International Labour Orgnization Statndards ( ILO standard) to avoid drudgery to human beings.
- While stacking the Soyabean seeds in farmers’ house or big organizational ware houses, the stacks should be laid necessarily on plastic bags or water proof paper or ideally on plastic or wooden pallets laid on the ground so as to avoid moisture currents from ground to seeds and thereby spoilage.
- While loading and unloading of Soyabean seeds bags, handling should be gentle and without hooks to avoid damage to seeds. No throwing of bags from trucks and trolleys please.
- Soyabean seeds should be tested for its germination and physical purity before it is taken for cleaning and grading. This will avoid monetary and time loss to process low germination lots specially below 50 % germination.
- Cleaning, grading and packing of Soyabean seeds should be ideally done at the moisture content of not more than 14 percent to avoid damage to Seeds on metal surfaces of machinery.
- Further to avoid shortage of Soyabean seeds weight and other seeds during its sale through dealers’ shop, it is a better practice to add one percent weight extra in each bag to compensate moisture loss during Feb to May and then complaints of low weight in the eyes of Weights and Measurement Dept (Legal Meteorology Govt. Dept.)
- Also during packing it is better to put technical information leaflet about vulnerability of Soyabean seeds and its remedies. So that farmers can read it before sowing and then follow guidelines precautions to be taken before sowing. Farmers need to be advised that minimum 100 mm rainfall is ideal for sowing Soyabean.
- While cleaning and grading of seeds on Precleaner or Fine cleaner, Gravity Separator or Destoner and packing machines, the metal surfaces where Soyabean seeds are likely to fall from the distance such metal surfaces must be padded with spongy or soft material like spung or soft rubber or polyurathene or any other soft material to avoid impact damage to Soyabean seeds in cleaning, grading and packing.
- Soybean seeds need to be handle with care and gentle. It is better to use hydraulic dumpers to load raw Soyabean seeds from ground level to hopper. It is better to use slat belt conveyor or chain and bucket conveyors instead of using underground elevator hopper metal buckets. If at all vertical bucket elevators are used, then make use of plastic or polyurethane buckets in the elevators to feed the soyabean seeds to the machines for cleaning and grading and packing.
- Soyabean seeds sample for testing should be always packed in small carton boxes to carry to seed testing laboratory to avoid damage to seeds during transit specially when samples have to be carried in vehicles long distances.
- The ware houses/godowns should have sufficient attic space like height of ware houses for the storage of Soyabean and even other crop seeds should be ideally min 18 ft ( 6.0 m from floor) so as to avoid heating attic spaces in summer days due to transmission of heat energy from metal roof sheets or RCC slab to attic air and there by heating of Soyabean seeds to make it more vulnerable.
- Ideally pre-painted white colour profile roof sheets are better for avoiding heating of roof and thereby heating of attic space in the ware houses and thereby damage to Soyabean and other seeds.
- It is recommended to avoid use of any hooks for handling Soyabean seed bags during loading and unloading and handling within seeds processing plants and ware houses.
- Field emergence test ( Vigor test) should be necessarily conducted in the fields in the month of Feb – March-April for all Soyabean seeds lots so that it will be subjected to the field conditions and viability and vigor can be known well before sowing. All such Soyabean seed lots found germinated min 70 % in the field and having robust growth in the field conditions, those Soybean seed lots will likely not have any problem at the time of sowing by farmers in the fields. This field emergence test is very important and crucial for Soybean seeds.
- Passed Soyabean seeds packed in seed bags ready to dispatch for its marketing through dealers and distributors, it is although expensive and loss making, to test the Soyabean seeds samples again in the seed testing laboratory and if the tested passed seeds still records germination low before dispatch then such low germination lots should not be dispatched and released for its marketing. It is sensible decision to be taken by management as it will be quite loss to seeds companies to spot sale of passed tagged and bagged Soyabean seeds.
- There are non visible colours by human naked eyes in the market and Soyabean seeds can be treated with these non-visible colours. Such non-visible colours treated seeds although can not be recognized by naked human eyes, such colours can be recognized by ultra violet rays battery. So seed companies who are engaged in Soyabean seeds production, processing and marketing operations, they can treat few Soyabean seed lots with such colours and put the seeds in the market specially in fake complaint prone areas and they can easily make out fake complaint if they are able to test in house colour by Ultra violet pens then companies can arrest fake germination complaints.
- The other way to control fake complaints is to watch how many customers have made complaint of single lot number of Soyabean seeds at different locations. If there is mass complaint of single lot number of Soyabean seeds at different locations then the complaints may be genuine.
So these are some of the professional and technical practices to produce, process and make qualitative Soyabean seeds germination complaints free. All organizations are fee to contact the author to learn more of such practical ideas to sort out quality problems in many type of seeds.