Primed seeds: the next step in top quality onion growing

Hazera has been developing and selling primed onion seeds since 2009. This experience translates into the market as the share of primed seeds is increasing. Many growers are discovering the benefits. Primed seeds can ensure faster crop development after sowing, more uniformity in the crop and final product and better quality onions. That is why it is also interesting for you.

In short, seed priming is the process of activating the early stages of germination. After priming, the seed is sown and packed in the same way. Seedlings that have been primed will emerge faster and the position, will therefore, be more uniform. As the first germination stage between sowing and emergence is shorter, the seeds are less affected by weather influences.

Flexible sowing time
Adam Prabucki, Onion Product Manager says: “Climate change means we have to deal with extreme conditions in the field more often. Spring is getting shorter and it’s getting warmer much earlier. This means that the sowing period seems to be shorter. Because primed seeds are already in a further development stage, they germinate faster at low temperatures and the crop will be above the ground sooner and develop faster.”

Growth cycle
A big misconception is that you can harvest onions from primed seeds earlier. Adam says: “That’s not the case. The length of the day determines the growth cycle of onions. Priming the seeds does not affect the growth cycle, it remains the same. However, you can save costs by using primed seeds, because you need less seed for the same yield as with regular onion seed. Due to the controlled process of priming in the laboratory, the chance of germination is better. And due to the more uniform germination, the loss in the early stages of growth is also less. You can save up to 10% on seeds.”

Less plant damage
With primed seeds, the plants emerge more uniform. They are in the same stage of development and need the same treatment at the same time. This makes the weed control program easier to apply. This results in less plant damage. A clean field without weeds also means less damage to the bulbs, so better quality and storage potential. Due to the faster emergence, for example, there is also less chance of onion fly. And the optimum harvest time is easier to determine with uniform plants.

The advantages are great, although there are also some limitations. Adam says: ”We advise not to sow too late in the season as the soil dries up too quickly. If there are no options for irrigating, the primed seeds in a dried-up seedbed can die, because the connection with the deeper soil layers has not yet been reached. If onions sprout quicker, there may be too little water available for growth. This may lead to a lower plant population. It is also better not to store primed seeds for use in another year, as the growth cycle has already started.”

Contact with crop specialists
Hazera can supply primed seeds of all varieties. Our crop specialists are happy to advise on how these seeds can contribute to a successful high-quality harvest. They support and guide you with tailor-made advice, also during your cultivation.