In this edition of SGS Crop Science Canada News:

  • Cool Stress Testing to Quantify Early Season Seedling Growth
  • Target for The Best Forage Ever
  • ISTA Blue Certificates to Prop Up Export Confidence
  • Solvita and Amendment Measures to Understand Healthy Soils


Canada’s short growing season nudges seed planting into cold soils, often a few degrees over the freezing mark. Seed crops are stringently tested prior to planting to meet germination benchmarks, a performance rating at ideal temperature, moisture and light as designate by the Seeds Act. The Cool Stress Test has gained interest as it was developed to differentiate seed lots and to evaluate plant growth at cold temperatures. This test is performed in the chill chamber for 7-12 days, as determined by crop type, followed by a shorten term in the warm chamber. At the end of the test, each seedling is quantified into the following categories:

  • % Vigorous Seedlings
  • % Non-Vigorous Seedlings
  • % No Growth

Keen evaluation of the difference between the germination and cool stress test result gives insight into product confidence.


SGS offers ONE-STOP-TESTING to assist you in the harvesting and managing of your forages. In 2021 it will be important to produce great forages, grains and oilseeds with recent high prices. Controlling feeding costs and getting the most from your forages will be critical this year. Make plans now to help you better time the harvesting of your forages and to optimally balance your livestock diets with these precise steps.

Choose the right test package

  • Decide with your feeding advisor or nutritionist which test package best suits your needs. SGS offers over 20 different testing packages, there is one just right for your farm or ranch.
  • Consider pre harvest testing of your forages to achieve the best blend of nutrients, digestibility and yield. Our Rapid Scissor Cutting is ideal for this task.

Ensure sampling materials are in hand

  • Sample bags: Order from SGS Guelph in advance.
  • Hay coring tool: Purchase from your farm supply company or make arrangements with your nutritionist.
  • Submission forms: Contact SGS Guelph for digital forms.

Packaging instructions: Keep the hay, silage or ingredient viable with our clear packaging and shipping instructions.


Seed export documentation and quality testing is complex, evolving, and driven by regional or country policy. End use markets and geographies can be stringent, such as OECD, or open for interpretation. Validity of seed quality is propped up by utilization of international methods and laboratory accreditation, in comparison to local authorizations. Utilization of blue international seed certificates builds confidence for both the broker and importing country.

SGS Sherwood Park is authorized by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) to conduct seed analysis and generate ISTA certificates for bagged and container shipments. Our portfolio includes Germination, Tetrazolium, Other Seed Determination, Percent Pure Seed, Moisture and Kernel size. Our ISTA services benefits seed exporters with speed of analysis, international understanding of quality, and control of documentation.


Understanding the nutritional demand of the crop and available soil nutrients, plus keen attention to the 4R principles, has been the basis for managing agricultural soils for decades. Scientific research has shifted focus to the soil biome and the interactions that occur below our feet. Building healthy soils starts with understanding lab diagnostics currently available and how to use them over time.

Soil Health Diagnostics:

When collecting soil nutrient samples, choose this opportunity to assess soil quality and health.

  • Solvita: to assess compost maturity and can be used to indicate soil biological activity
  • Carbon Burst: to indicate the portion of carbon still involved in nutrient cycling
  • Potentially Mineralizable Nitrate: to establish a baseline of the soil’s inherent ability to produce plant-available N from organic matter

Differing from nutrient testing which focuses on immediate nutrient needs, soil health testing is a long term framework built on subsequent yearly data collection, which will trend the effectiveness of soil amendments and farming practices.

Manure Contribution: Organic amendments including manure are used to supplement soil nutritional and health management programs. Some livestock producers may choose to use published average nutrient values, however the range of values within the same livestock type can be dramatic based on diet, bedding and storage type. Submission of liquid or solid manure for laboratory analysis is a reliable measurement to adjust commercial fertilizer rates.