Seed Cleaning and Conditioning

Seed Cleaning / Conditioning
Foundation seed
The PC produces clean, conditioned seed called 'Foundation Seed'

Seed conditioning and handling is a critical step in producing a high-quality seed product that is free of contaminants. The seed cleaning facilities at the Alaska Plant Materials Center handle not only seed from our own fields, but also seed from the Alaska Seed Growers Association, private companies, and agencies. There are two main seed processing facilities: our Seed House that processes lots of seed over 100 pounds, and the Small Seed Lot for anything less. Both facilities operate primarily in the winter months when the field activities are completed.

Principals of Seed Cleaning:

  1. Complete separation-removal of contamination
  2. Minimization of seed loss-some good seeds are removed along with contaminants in almost every conditioning operation and this loss must be kept to a minimum
  3. Upgrading-improvement of seed quality through removal of decayed, cracked, broken, insect-damaged, or otherwise injured or low-quality seed
  4. Efficiency-the highest capacity consistent with effectiveness of separation
  5. Minimization of labor-labor is a direct operating cost

Equipment

Typically, more than one machine will be necessary to completely condition a given seed lot to maximum purity and germination. Seed can be separated by physical characteristics such as size, length, width, thickness, weight (specific gravity), surface texture etc. Each piece of equipment works with one or more of these physical characteristics to separate good seed from the rest of the contents. The handler will choose the sequence of equipment based on the characteristics of unwanted material and condition of the seed.

Here is a quick look at the equipment used at the PMC for seed conditioning:


Indent Cylinder
The Indent Cylinder uses different sized indentions to lift out undesirable seed as it rotates on a nearly-horizontal axis.
Different sized indentions sort seed as the machine rotates on a nearly-horizontal axis;
29-D Seed Cleaner
The 29-D performs the bulk of the large-lot cleaning, using air or brushes to process the seed before it is bagged.
The 29-D performs the bulk of the large-lot cleaning, using air or brushes to process seed.
    Air Separator
    The Air Separator uses a series of chambers with variable air flow to separate seed by weight.
    The Air Separator uses a series of chambers with variable air flow to separate seed by weight.
    Screen Separator
    The Screen Separator uses a series of screens to sift seed by size and shape.
    The Screen Separator uses a series of screens to sift seed by size and shape.
    Brush Machine
    Brush Machine (uses rotating, stiff brushes to remove awns, hairs, or other chaffy plant parts that often cause seed to clump and cling together.
    Rotating stiff brushes remove awns, hairs or other plant parts that can cause seed to clump and cling together.
    Scalper Seed Cleaner
    The scalper seed cleaner performs the final step of the large-lot cleaning, using screens to separate seed from inert material.
    The Scalper seed cleaner performs the final step of the large-lot cleaning, using screens to separate seed from inert material.

 

 


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