Germination of tropical forage seeds stored for six years in ambient and controlled temperature and humidity conditions in Thailand

Michael D. Hare, Naddakorn Sutin, Supuaphan Phengphet, Theerachai Songsiri


The germination performances of fresh seed lots were determined for 5 tropical forage species: Mulato II hybrid brachiaria [Urochloa ruziziensis (syn. Brachiaria ruziziensis) x U. decumbens (syn. B. decumbens) x U. brizantha (syn. B. brizantha)], Mombasa guinea [Megathyrsus maximus (syn. Panicum maximum)], Tanzania guinea [M. maximus (syn. P. maximum)], Ubon paspalum (Paspalum atratum) and Ubon stylo (Stylosanthes guianensis), stored under ambient conditions in Thailand (mean monthly temperatures 23‒34 ºC; mean monthly relative humidity 40‒92%) or in a cool room (18‒20 ºC and 50% relative humidity) for up to 6 years. The first paper of this study showed all seeds, except unscarified Ubon stylo seed, were dead after a single year of storage in ambient conditions. This second paper shows that cool-room storage extended seed viability, but performance varied considerably between species. Germination percentage under laboratory conditions declined to below 50%, after 3 years storage for Mombasa guinea seed and Tanzania guinea seed, 4 years for Ubon paspalum seed and 4‒5 years for Mulato II seed. Ubon stylo seed maintained high germination for 5 years, in both cool-room storage (96%) and ambient-room storage (84%). Apparent embryo dormancy in acid-scarified Mulato II seed steadily increased with time in cool-storage and this seed had to be acid-scarified again each year at the time of germination testing to overcome dormancy. Physical dormancy of Mulato II seeds, imposed by the tightly bound lemma and palea in unscarified seed, was not overcome by length of time in cool-storage and these seeds had to be acid-scarified to induce germination. Hardseeded percentage in Ubon stylo seed remained high throughout the study and could be overcome only by acid-scarification. The difficulties of maintaining acceptable seed germination percentages when storing forage seeds in the humid tropics are discussed.

Keywords: Embryo dormancy, hardseededness, humid tropics, seed storage, seed viability.

DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(6)26-33

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