NIAB - National Institute of Agricultural Botany

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Seed Certification

Contact: Stephen Flack on 01223 342238 or the seed certification office on 01223 342220.

Seed Certification Schemes exist to protect farmers and their customers by ensuring that the seed they buy meets certain quality standards. All certified seed must meet prescribed standards of varietal identity and purity, germination and freedom from weed seeds. Further information on the requirements of seed certification.

WheatfieldFor a new variety to be successful sufficient stocks of good quality seed must be multiplied to meet demand from growers and end-users. A successful cereal variety may sell over twenty thousand tonnes of seed per year in England and Wales.

In order to be marketed, European Commission Directives require that seed of most agricultural species must be officially certified.

The directives define standards of purity and germination that the seed must meet in order to be certified.

In the United Kingdom certification of seed is governed by Seeds Regulations.

NIAB is pleased to provide Defra with technical services to implement the seed certification scheme as well as National Listing and UK Plant Breeder’s Rights.

NIAB monitors the quality of all seed stocks passing through the certification system and maintains pedigree records for all seed lots and seed crops in England and Wales. The Official Seed Testing Station for England & Wales is operated by NIAB

NIAB also runs training courses for company personnel involved in seed certification and administration.

Closing dates

Throughout the year there are various closing dates for the receipt of samples and documentation. 

Certification data is available from the NIAB TAG Network membership service via our Seedstats journal and Seed Production booklet.

NIAB also offers a range of services to help with variety identity and purity, including laboratory analysis and botanical descriptions.