Evaluation of safflower seed size, length (shape), and density in relation to seed vigor and oil content

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture


Stand establishment and weed control are two major problems in dryland safflower production in the Northern Great Plains. Improving stand establishment would improve weed control through competition. Selecting seed that is large and has high density could improve seedling vigor thus improve stand establishment. However, selecting large, high density seed would be selecting lower oil type seed for reproduction. The purpose of these studies is to evaluate the use of seed size, length (shape), and density of a safflower bulk population in improving seedling vigor while maintaining or improving oil content of the population. To investigate this problem, safflower seed of the 1981 Sidney bulk population, its 1982 progeny grown at Havre, and the cultivars Hartman, S-208, and S-541 grown at several locations, were classified by size, length, density, and evaluated for oil content and seedling vigor. Seed size was based on seed diameter as determined by slotted screens. A laboratory indent cylinder was used to classify seed by length. Seed density classes were obtained using water-alcohol solutions, Caldwell forced air fan, and an Oregon continuous seed blower. Seed oil content was determined by wide-line nuclear magnetic resonance. Emerged seedling weights were used to evaluate seed vigor in field and greenhouse studies. The large, high density or longer seed, within each seed lot, was found to have more seedling vigor and lower oil content than the small, low density or short seed. Sidney bulk seed in the short class appeared to be more oval in shape and to have less hull in the basal area than the unseparated seed. The relationship of oil content to seed size, length (shape) and density, when compared across cultivars Hartman, S-208, and S-541, did not follow the same pattern as was found within seed lots. S-541 seed had the highest oil content but it also had the highest seed density and was intermediate to Hartman and S-208 seed in size and length.




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