State farms and Experimental farms
Especially in countries with a central planned economy state farms and/or governmental farms have had a positive effect on the development of seed programmes.
On these farms it is possible :
Mandate of the farm and priorities
- to introduce the necessary discipline needed for seed production
- to implement a wide crop rotation
- to provide sufficient isolation for seed crops
- to ensure that good structures for storage are available
For good results it is necessary that the management has the mandate to manage all activities from planting to storage. It is essential that before the crop season starts all crop inputs and implements have been made available.
In several countries researchers have often taken initiatives to produce pre-basic seed and basic seed on experimental farms. In the initial developmental stage such programmes were often successful, but the problems came later due to the fact that the demand of quality seed exceeded the production capacity of the experimental stations. This than lead to problems of a different nature: financial, crop rotation, discontinuity, spread of quarantine diseases, etc.
Financial problems: The financial system which applies for the experimental station often does not allow to budget for the entire production and storage season, neither is it possible to make financial reservations for the seasons to come and for the extension of the programme.
Crop rotation: The size of the farm is too small to run a seed programme of a sufficient dimension and to apply a sound crop rotation programme (no more than 1 potato crop in every 3-4 years). The result is that soil borne diseases build up. Rotation problems often only become visible after many years of underestimation of the negative effects of too narrow rotations. Than it is often too late to solve the problem!!
Discontinuity: Researchers often have a broad interest but mostly do not have the mentality to run a routine seed programme.To be successful, the seed programme needs the highest priority.
Spread of quarantine diseases: The examples are numerous where in a country quarantine diseases have spread from experimental farms. This because of the fact that seed production on these farms was not done adequately.