The OSU Seed Lab is located on the campus of beautiful Oregon State University in Corvallis. Our modern lab facility was built in 1989 and was custom-designed as a seed lab.
The lab employs approximately 25 permanent analysts and staff. During our busiest time, we employ between 15-30 additional temporary staff.
The OSU Seed Lab was established in 1909 and has operated continuously ever since, making it one of the oldest such labs in the US. Read more about our history and see a gallery of historical photos!
Business hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We follow the OSU holiday closure schedule.
Phone: 541-737-4464 Please see the staff page for individual phone and email listings.
OSU Seed Laboratory
3291 SW Campus Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
Directions to the OSU Seed Lab:
Coming from the west (US20 & Hwy34)
Coming from the south (Hwy99W)
Coming from the north (Hwy 99W or US20)
Our laboratory is housed in an approximately 10,500 square feet building. Custom-designed for seed testing, it has separate areas for purity, germination, special testing and sample storage. A multi-purpose training and overflow testing room is located on a mezzanine. Many windows on the main floor admit lots of natural light. The greenhouse is located just steps away in the OSU greenhouse complex.
The building was designed to facilitate the flow of samples. The reception area is located near the front entrance to facilitate sample drop-off. Samples are routed from reception directly to the sample preparation area. After preparation, they are distributed to the appropriate departments for testing. Sample storage allows a large number of samples to be filed in a relatively small area. The storage area is unheated to reproduce local storage conditions.
The OSU Seed Lab received formal accreditation from the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) in 2009. To be accredited, the lab was required to develop and implement a quality management system as defined by the ISTA Laboratory Accreditation Standard, which is based on the ISO 17025 accreditation standard. The lab was also required to perform well in the ISTA Proficiency Program and be audited on-site for both technical proficiency and quality system.
The OSU Seed Lab is committed to continuous improvement to achieve ongoing customer satisfaction by:
It is the OSU Seed Lab’s approach to encourage active participation of all employees in quality planning and continuous improvement efforts to meet the following objectives:
All objectives are used in the annual quality review process to help determine needs and goals. Our staff is fully aware of and has strong ownership of the goals of the OSU Seed Lab Quality System.
It is hard to know what might have been in the mind and heart of Professor George Hyslop and others, when he started the Oregon State University Seed Laboratory in 1909 in a small room in the Agronomy wing of what was to become the Agriculture Hall. He started with a crank operated divider, a blower with airflow regulated by a screw valve and a few water-cooled germinators. Now, the OSU Seed Laboratory provides services to the seed industry in the US and around the world and is accredited by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA).
|Purity testing with the traditional purity board in 1960.||Purity testing with the Ergonomic Purity Station in 2009.|
This was a time when there were very few seed laboratories in the nation and the Oregon Seed Industry was still in its infancy. When people talked about seeds in those days they were probably talking about wheat and potato seeds. Looking ahead to the next 100 years from that point in time, it would have been impossible to imagine the breadth, depth, and dynamism of the seed industry in Oregon and the nation. But they surely had a vision.
A hundred years later, Oregon is the leading grass seed supplier in the world and is known as the “grass seed capital of the world.” It ships seed across the country, Europe, Asia, and South America. Needless to say the OSU Seed Lab was not to watch the events from the fences; rather it worked shoulder to shoulder with its seed communities both in good and in difficult times. It made every possible effort to develop useful methods, organize educational services, and provide testing services to a dynamically growing agricultural community. After Seed Certification was established in 1918 and fully vested in 1937, the seed lab provided a testing service that is critical for certification tagging. Through the efforts of the Oregon Seed Growers League, the OSU Seed Lab moved to the Quonset Huts (brought in from what then was the Army military base ‘Camp Adair’) in 1945. In 1989, the seed lab moved again to its current modern building located on Campus Way. These changes made it possible to respond to the growing demand for testing and to accommodate newer and more modern equipment for testing.
|The Quonset Hut was the lab's home for many years.||Our current facility on Campus Way.|
There are many contrasts between seed testing in 1909 and 2009. The laboratory started by providing purity and germination tests to its customers. Today, there are many more tests in various areas of seed quality to serve the needs of today's dynamic seed industry. In the purity area, the OSU Seed Lab offers regular purity testing for a wide range of crops and native species as well as US, Australian and Canadian crop and weed exams; noxious weed exams; pest and disease, soil, undesirable grass seed, and sod quality exams. The seed lab also offers testing to detect Orobanche species in red clover, and noxious weeds in compost, birdseed, and animal feed. Other tests include germination, viability by tetrazolium, fluorescence, grow-outs, seed moisture content, seed weight, vigor tests, ploidy by cytometry, immunoblot assay to detect endophyte in seeds, Clearfield® bioassay, varietal identification, and x-ray tests. In addition, special seed testing studies, research, and consultation are available based on customer needs.
|Germination facilities in 1960.||Climate controlled chambers in 2009.|
|OSU Seed Laboratory providing workshops and training services.|
|OSU Seed Laboratory used the chromosome counting method in the past.||Ploidy by cytometry was introduced as an alternative method to the chromosome count.|
|Office work in 1948.||State of the art database is used in 2009.|
Highly committed people led this lab to become one of the leading labs in the nation. They were Norma Waddle (1910-17), Grace M. Cole (1917-19), Agnes Ryder (1919-22), Bertha C. Hite (1922-29), Leatha D. Bunting (1929-30), Grace Cole Fleischman (1930-38), Louisa Kanipe Jensen (1938-68), Ed Hardin (1968-80), Rodger Danielson (1980-96) and Adriel Garay (1997 to present).
These contributions would not have been possible without the support from a broad community. These include seed growers, seed cleaners, seed dealers that trust this lab to test their samples; the agricultural community and other seed users who used our test reports to determine the quality of seed they were planting; the seed laboratory communities who worked with us shoulder to shoulder; the scientists and professionals who challenged and stimulated new concepts and methods. Finally, thanks to all the analysts who provide tender loving care and dedicated attention to each and every sample tested.
I am humbled and honored to be the one to bring this lab to its 100 years.
Adriel Garay, Ph.D., Lab Manager