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Kenaf seed storage duration on germination, emergence, and yield

Meints, Paul D., Smith, C.A.
Industrial crops and products 2003 v.17 no.1 pp. 9-14
Hibiscus cannabinus, alternative crops, biomass, crop yield, drought, kenaf, relative humidity, seed germination, seed storage, storage time, temperature, vigor
Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) is a potential alternative crop being developed for fiber production. Because planting area varies dramatically from year to year, seed supplies may greatly exceed use so that the excess seed must be stored for one to several years. The objectives of this study were to determine the effect of seed storage duration at 10 °C on germination, vigor, emergence, and yield. Replicated trials were established at Starkville, MS in 1999 and 2000 to evaluate field emergence and biomass yield of kenaf seed from five 'Everglades 41' ('E41') harvest year seed lots stored at 10 °C in ambient relative humidity for up to 4 years. Germination of these same seed lots under standard (20-30 °C) and cool (20 °C) temperatures, and seed vigor was evaluated over time. Field emergence was the same for the different seed storage durations up to 4 years, but was directly affected by drought conditions for each planted year. Biomass yields ranged from 12.39 to 14.57 Mg ha-1 in 1999 and 16.82 to 18.47 Mg ha-1 in 2000, but were not different between storage durations. Seed germination remained greater than 80% regardless of storage duration. Electrolyte leakage, based on conductivity, was 38-50% less with freshly harvested seed than seed stored for 4 years at 10 °C. However, neither the conductivity nor accelerated aging test were reliable predictors of field emergence. Kenaf seed stored up to 4 years at 10 °C retained germination rates acceptable for commercial use. Neither field emergence nor biomass yield was affected by seed storage duration.