Mechanization and automation of seed testing and seed separations

The purpose of this area of research is to incorporate or introduce new technologies to solve problems and develop methods that can better respond to current and future industry needs. The ultimate goal in this area is to simplify procedures, increase efficiency, and assure quality.

Completed Projects

  • Development of ergonomic purity examination system (Ergovision) that assures ergonomic working conditions. The new system includes automatic, mechanical seed movement through the field of vision, optimum lighting, and a high magnification optic system for accurate identification of seed components. The system has been used successfully for many years and has decreased the analysts’ work-related health problems and increased accuracy and timeliness in purity testing results.
  • Development of an efficient test to detect and identify Orobanche seeds (extremely small seeds of a parasitic species) in red clover. With some modifications, this method, combined with the use of the Ergovision system, could be used to detect and identify any small seeds or particles in any sample.
  • Development of a method to search for seeds in soil samples. The method involves filtration to separate the seeds and sand from finer soil particles; drying and screening of remaining component; and microscopic examination to detect and identify seeds. Currently, the method is used to find seeds in soil banks, feed pellets, compost, and others.
  • Innovation of Uniform Blowing Procedures by development of “The Master Calibration Samples” and the use of “Air Velocity Value” to calibrate blowers. This concept was incorporated into the AOSA Rules for Seed Testing in 2006, and has since been added to the ISTA Rules as well. This system can be used as a model to develop UBP for other grass seeds around the world.
  • Identification of optimum blowing point for purity assessment in Seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum).
  • Researched the possibility of a uniform Blowing Procedure (UBP) for tall fescue. Research involved finding the optimum blowing point for this crop by visual examination of caryopsis size and by germination. Then, Master Calibration Samples (MCS) of proven uniformity were developed, which was used to run a national referee to test the uniformity and time saved with this method.
  • Developmented and evaluated “blower on wheels for seed/grain separations”. The laboratory model is on wheels, it has a capacity to produce a broad range of desired air velocities and can run a broad range of seeds continuously. This model can be scaled up to clean large commercial quantities.

Interests and opportunities for new projects

  • Development of continuous flow separation of soil from grass seed samples. The method would be developed for samples but the principles would apply to large commercial operations.
  • Development of continuous flow scarification of seeds. The method would be developed for samples but the principles would apply to large commercial operations.