Plant Seeds: Their Importance in Farming

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Do you know that plants seeds are cultivated for their beauty and smells? Moreover, they are grown for the development of medicines. Plants, as you know, are the foundation of human diets all across the world. Do you know that all plants do not produce seeds? However, all plants that do produce them generally use them to replicate themselves. The importance of seeds is both biological and economic. 

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The Importance of Plant Seeds in Human Life

Many societies feed exclusively on vegetarian diets and depend solely on seed plants for their nutritional needs. Few such crops are rice, wheat, and potatoes. Hence these seed plants dominate the agricultural landscape. Humans developed many of these crops during the agricultural revolution—the period when human societies made a transition from nomadic hunter-gatherers to agriculture. 

 Cereals are often rich in carbohydrates, providing the staple of many of your daily diets. In addition, nuts and beans supply proteins. Fats or oils are derived from crushed seeds, as is the case for peanut and rapeseed (canola) oils. Or as oils derived from fruits such as olives. Cattles and animal husbandry also require large amounts of crops.

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 Even sugar that sweetens your dishes is produced from the monocot sugarcane and the sugar beet. Even drinks are made from infusions of tea leaves, chamomile flowers, crushed coffee beans, or powdered cocoa beans. Therefore, seed plants have an extensive requirement. 

 Interestingly, all spices come from many different plant parts. Such as saffron and cloves are stamens and buds of a plant. Black pepper and vanilla are seeds, too; cinnamon is the bark of trees. Even the herbs that flavour many dishes come from dried fruits and leaves, the most common being spicy red chili pepper. 

Usages of Seed Plants

The volatile oils of barks and flowers provide the scent of perfumes. Additionally, no discussion of seed plants would be complete without mentioning alcohol. Fermentation of plant-derived sugars and starches is the basis of alcoholic beverages. In some cases, only drinks are derived from the fermentation of sugars from fruit, as in wines. In other instances, drinks are derived from the fermentation of carbohydrates derived from seeds, as in beers.

Seed plants have many other uses as well. These plants provide wood as a source of timber for construction, fuel, and material to build furniture. Most of the paper you use every day is derived from the pulp of coniferous trees. Fibers are all derived from seed plants, such as flax, cotton, and hemp, woven into cloth. 

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Interestingly, textile dyes, such as indigo, were also of plant origin until synthetic chemical dyes came into the forefront. Lastly, one must not forget the benefits of ornamental seed plants. These ornamental plants grace public spaces, adding beauty and serenity to human lives and inspiring many poets and lovers. 

Since ancient times, human society has been using the medicinal properties of plants. There are references to medicinal plants even in the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Chinese writings, 5,000 years old. Many modern synthetic therapeutic drugs are also derived from plants. 

Why Are Seed Plants So Important?

Plant seeds contain large amounts of oil, protein, and starch, which are all essential nutrients for the development of plants and humans. Additionally, they are also used to produce many primary food sources for humans. 

Throughout the ages, plants have created different mechanisms to spread their seeds. This makes it easier for the new plants to grow at distances further away from their parents. This is important for the spread of the range of the species. Consequently, the seeds are crucial for Earth and the survival of many plants. Plants take advantage of several opportunities about habitat and disperse seeds further away.

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There are several disturbances in nature, including some ecological processes, so plants continually need to search for new habitats. Seeds allow us to plant them anywhere and grow whichever plant we need. Plant soil plays an important role in its yield. Some of the plant species are of vital importance to us. We require them as a primary source of food. However, there are also seeds of some plants we need for raw materials. These materials are used for manufacturing industrial chemicals.

Quality of Plant Seed and their Characteristics

The utility of the seeds is fully realized only when they possess their quality in terms of physical, physiological, genetic, and health aspects. Plant seed quality is a relative term. Plat seed quality means the degree of excellence when compared to an acceptable standard.

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The quality seeds are the ones having required standards of germination, purity, and other attributes. Some of the primary characteristics related to the quality of plant seeds are as follows

Genetic purity

  • A plant seed is genetically pure, when it possesses all the genetic qualities that the breeder has placed in the variety.
  • Genetic purity of seeds is a measure of trueness to type.
  • It has a direct effect on ultimate yields. When there is any deterioration in the genetic makeup of the variety during the seed multiplication and distribution cycle, there would be a proportionate decrease in its performance.
  • It is necessary to ensure genetic purity during production cycles.

Physical purity

  • The physical purity of a seed lot refers to the material composition of seed lot.
  • A seed lot is consists of pure seeds, weed seeds, inert matter, and other crop seeds.
  • The higher the content of the pure seed, the better would be the seed quality.
  • Pure seed, considered together with seed germination, determines the planting value of the seed.

Different Role of Plant Seeds

The role of plant seeds is varied. Some of the different roles of plant seeds are as follows. 

Plant seeds as carriers of new technologies

The introduction and popularization of any technology for enhancing crop productivity depends solely on the seed. It may be developing new varieties, evaluating seed treating chemicals, fertilizer (NPK fertilizer), pesticide, and biotechnological products.

Plant seeds as a fundamental tool for secured food supply

In some developing countries in Asia, cultivating high-yielding varieties has helped increase food production four times in a period of fifty years. Particularly, the successful implementation of this High Yielding Varieties Programme (HYVP) has led to a remarkable increase in production. Additionally, it has led to a new assessment of future development potential. As a result, India has substantially reduced food imports from other countries despite the rapid population increase.

Plant seeds for secure crop yields

Plant seeds are the principal means to secure crop yields in less favourable production areas. Consequently, these areas are inherent in biotic and abiotic stresses. The supply of quality seeds of improved varieties contributes to higher crop yields. 

Plant seeds are medium for rapid rehabilitation of agriculture.

At times, droughts and floods focused on threats of famine and starvation. In such situations, the plant seed reserve stocks contribute a lot to reclaiming the ill effects of natural calamities.

Plant Seed Heath

The seed’s health refers to the absence or presence of disease or pests on the plant seeds. The quality of a plant seed lot very much depends on its health. Additionally, it also should possess the following characteristics.

  • Good shape, size, colour, etc., according to specifications of a variety.
  • Free from other crop seeds,
  • Devoid of objectionable weed seeds.
  • Free from designated diseases.
  • Possess high longevity and shelf life.
  • Optimum moisture content for storage.
  • High market value.
  • The availability of quality seeds on time and at affordable prices is a prime factor in producing a uniform, healthy and vigorous crop that results in higher productivity. 

Significance of Plant seed

  • Plant seed ensures the genetic purity of a specific crop.
  • Quality seeds alone provide a higher yield.
  • Higher-income to farmers
  • Produce vigorous seedlings in the nursery
  • Tolerant to pest and disease to a certain extent
  • Maintains desired plant population
  • Responds to added inputs like fertilizer, pesticide, irrigation, and other crop management techniques
  • Ensures uniform growth and maturity
  • Withstands biotic and abiotic stresses

Seed Technology

  • Seed technology is an interdisciplinary science. It covers a broad range of subjects such as breeding, agronomy, physiology, pathology, microbiology, and engineering.
  • It involves research aspects of seed growth and development, seed physiology, seed dormancy, germination, techniques on seed enhancement, quality seed production, seed certification, processing, seed treatment, storage, seed longevity, testing, seed pathology, entomology, quality control, marketing, and distribution.
  • The role of seed technology in the agriculture sector is the timely supply of quality seeds for a reasonable price to farmers.

Strategies for seed improvement

There are several strategies for seed improvement. They are as follows

Exploitation of Hybrid Vigour

It is the best approach for a varietal increase in the production of crops. The area under hybrids is about 27 percent, while their contribution to yield is 40 percent.

Description of Notified Varieties

Implementing the plant variety protection requires detailed characterization of all varieties. Consequently, lots of efforts are in progress to characterize all the crop varieties under the seed production chain.

Enhancement of Seed Replacement Rates (SRR)

Seed Replacement Rate is when the farmers replace the seeds instead of using their seeds.

The farmer’s socio-economic status does not permit the purchase of quality seeds. Hence, the seed replacement rate is very low. The realistic production of breeder seeds and indents of different crop varieties by maintaining quality can enhance SRR.

Enhancement of Seed Multiplication Ratio (SMR)

Seed Multiplication Ratio is the number of seeds produced from a single seed when it is sown and harvested, which can be altered by good seed and crop management techniques. 

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