Designing a Seed Health Strategy for Organic Cropping Systems, Based on a Dynamic Perspective on Seed and Plant Health

Klaedtke, Stephanie M.; Rey, F.; Groot, S.P.C.


Seed germination and seedling establishment are the main factors for a successful start of a crop, determining crop health, weed suppression and overall crop performance. They are critical, but sensitive phases in crop production. High seed vigour and appropriate seed microbiota significantly contribute to the resilience of seedlings. This opinion paper is based on a review of relevant literature, two case studies with wheat and carrot and a subsequent stakeholder consultation in the framework of the European project LIVESEED. It presents a seed health strategy for organic farming systems that accounts for dynamic processes behind seed and plant health, taking advantage of the contributions of seed vigour and seed microbiota. Seed and plant health are understood as a continuum. Benefits of seed vigour and microbiota are showcased. Recommendations are given for organic seed production, seed processing and storage, as well as organic plant breeding and future research. In conclusion, organic farming systems, in particular, have the opportunity, both to develop this perspective on seed and plant health and to benefit from it. Adopting this perspective may require a shift in how crop plants and their seeds are cared for, as well as adapted regulatory frameworks. View Full-Text