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Saving Seed

Weigh the effectiveness of tankmixes with
the economics of multiple trips

By Amanda Huber print email

 
As input costs continue to climb, the question about saving ones own seed continues to come up from time to time. However, producers should know that as advancements in seed technology increase, so do the legal protections placed on those advancements. At this point, the risk involved in saving seed may be too great, plus the cost effectiveness is also called into question.

Risk Greater Than Savings
Terry Hollifield, executive director of the Georgia Crop Improvement Association, reminds producers that obtaining a uniform stand is one of the keys to producing increased peanut yields and reducing the incidence of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus.

“To do this, you need to plant high quality, genetically pure peanut seed,” he says. “Producing this kind of seed is expensive and specialized.”

Hollifield says producers need to know the real cost of growing, shelling, treating and storing before committing to planting non-professionally produced seed. However, it may be the lack of a guarantee on that seed that producers find to be the greater cost.

“I’ve never thought that a farmer saving their own seed was a sound risk management decision,” Hollifield says. “For example, if I am a producer and I plant my own seed and don’t get a good stand, I have no one to complain to.”

 

Considerations for
Saving Seed:

• Know the real costs in terms of producing, shelling, treating and storing.

• High quality seed, with germination assurance, is needed for a
uniform stand.

• No recourse for germination problems from saved seed.

• It is illegal to save seed protected by a patent, which includes high oleic varieties.

• For varieties with PVP, only save enough seed to plant your own holdings.

• Check with the certified seed organization in your state before saving seed.

Legal Protections On All Seed
“It is expensive to maintain good germination and genetic purity for the peanut seed that American peanut farmers have come to expect for profitable production,” says Tom Stadsklev, manager of the Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. “Certified seed production has always required special provisions, which include certification rules and higher standards in terms of calcium, field harvest, drying, grading and storage. Special handling during shelling, treating, bagging and transportation are also needed.”

The profitability issue aside, saving peanut seed treads into the treacherous waters of legal issues.

“All of the current U.S. peanut varieties have Plant Variety Protection Act (PVP) coverage or are covered by a U.S. Utility Patent, except for Florunner,” Stadsklev says. “Without explicit consent from the owner, a person is prohibited from selling, marketing, offering, delivering, consigning, exchanging or exposing the variety for sale.”

Additionally, he says, “A person is also prohibited from soliciting to buy, transfer or possess it in any way, as well as other protections.”

A Limit On Amount Saved
Varieties covered by PVP can be saved for planting by a farmer on his/her own farm, but may not be sold to other farmers outside of the seed certification system. Producers can only save enough seed to plant his own holdings, equal to or less than what was purchased originally. In other words, if the producer bought seed to cover 100 acres, he cannot save seed to produce more than 100 acres.

Patents are issued to anyone who invents a product or process that is novel, meaning that no other person has made, sold or published a description of the product or process prior to the application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Seed from a variety protected by a patent may not be saved for seed and there are no exceptions.

No Saving High Oleic Varieties
Stadsklev says the high oleic oil chemistry characteristic, which was discovered and incorporated into peanuts by the University of Florida, is covered with a utility patent.

“There are no provisions for farmers to save seed of high oleic peanut varieties, even for their own use,” he says. “Likewise, custom shelling, cleaning or storage of high oleic peanuts would be an infringement of the patent, even if the custom operator is not aware that the seed being handled are patented.”

All high oleic seed production must be licensed by University of Florida through the Florida Foundation Seed Producers.

Variety Type And Legal Protection
Variety Type
and Name
Owner/
Developer
High
Oleic
Legal
Protection
Runner Market Type
Georgia Green University of Georgia No PVP
Flavor Runner 458 Mycogen Co. Yes PVP, Patent
Georgia-02C University of Georgia Yes PVP, Patent
Tamrun OL 02 Texas A&M University Yes PVP, Patent
Tamun OL 01 Texas A&M University Yes PVP, Patent
Tamrun OL 06 Texas A&M University Yes PVP, Patent
Tamrun OL 07 Texas A&M University Yes PVP, Patent
Tamrun 96 Texas A&M University No PVP
Okrun Oklahoma State University No None
Georgia-03L University of Georgia No PVP
AT 215 Golden Peanut Co. Yes PVP, Patent
AP-4 University of Florida No PVP
Florida-07 University of Florida Yes PVP, Patent
Georgia-06G University of Georgia No PVP
Georgia-07W University of Georgia No PVP
Georgia Greener University of Georgia No PVP
Georgia-09B University of Georgia Yes PVP, Patent
Tifguard USDA No PVP
       
Virginia Market Type
Perry North Carolina State Univ. No PVP
Gregory North Carolina State Univ. No PVP
NC-V11 North Carolina State Univ. No PVP
VA 98R Virginia Polytechnic Inst. No PVP
CHAMPS Virginia Polytechnic Inst. Yes PVP
Georgia-08V University of Georgia Yes PVP, Patent
Florida Fancy University of Florida Yes PVP, Patent
Brantley North Carolina State Univ. Yes PVP, Patent
Bailey North Carolina State Univ. No PVP
Sugg North Carolina State Univ. No PVP
Source: Dr. Barry Tillman, Associate Professor of Agronomy,
University of Florida

Additional Restrictions May Apply
In addition to PVP and patenting, variety owners may also place restrictions on seed production through licensing agreements. In the United States, most peanut varieties are developed by universities or the USDA and seed production and marketing is licensed to private companies. Sometimes a variety is licensed exclusively to one company and other times varieties are licensed to all interested companies.

In the case of exclusive licenses, the original licensee can sub-license the variety to other seed producers.

Prior to saving any seed of a variety planted from certified seed, it is a good idea to make sure that seed production is not restricted by PVP, patent or licensing protections.

Expect No Big Savings
Processing and input costs change from year to year, but the most recent estimate is that producers might be able to reduce seed costs by about $15 per acre as compared to purchasing certified seed.

As Hollifield says, if there was money to be made in the peanut seed business, there would likely be more companies selling peanut seed.

The bottom line, says Stadsklev, is to know your real costs in terms of production, shelling, treating and storage.

“That seed must germinate for you to make a profit on it,” he adds. PG

For information, visit these Web sites: www.certifiedseed.org or www.ffsp.net.

 

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