Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – Like most agricultural industries, the seed industry is evolving as new technologies are developed and implemented.

At the recent IPROV meeting of Seed Grower Associations, hosted by the Saskatchewan Seed Growers, stakeholders from across Canada met to discuss changes occurring in the seed industry, including new technologies of value.

Among the tech, SGS Canada introduced the Videometer, a hardware and software product from Europe that is changing the game when it comes to conducting physical purity testing.

Traditionally, seed analysts have used microscopes to asses a seed’s purity. Holly Gelech, Business Development Director at SGS Canada, explains how the tech can determine if the seeds are true to crop, using wheat as an example.

“Instead of our seed analysts viewing seeds under a microscope and identifying they are true to crop, we can now put the wheat sample under our Videometer. We’ve trained it to identify that specific crop and conduct a physical purity test instead of relying on the eyes of the seed analyst.”

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By enhancing the accuracy of physical purity tests, Gelech says the farmer benefits. It ensures farmers receive precise information about the quality of the seed crops by eliminating any second-guessing. It also improves communication between supplier and customer, along with other farmers, as the tech will allow them to share pictures and information about the tests instantly and efficiently, providing a comprehensive view beyond standard data points.  

Gelech also stresses how the Videometer and other emerging technologies keep seed laboratories relevant.

“It promotes seed laboratories and their continuation. They’ve been around since the 1908s when the industry was privatized. It’s an area that is very traditional, and we want to continue to do testing for years to come.”

Gelech adds when it comes to staffing the seed labs, technology offers the opportunity to diversify the workforce.

“The people coming out of university are very interested in technology, changes in their job, and we see a huge amount of engagement from our staff involved in using technology instead of simply sitting at a workstation,” she says. “The workstation will continue to be a part of their day, and it’s an exciting part of the day for many of them, but the addition of new technologies allows them to diversify and bring in new staff to the labs.”

The introduction of the Videometer is another indicator of how tech continues to be a positive disrupter within the agriculture community while allowing traditional methods to remain relevant in the ever-changing ag landscape. 

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