The time of harvest of seeds crops is crucial to seed preservation. If harvested at maturity, with satisfactory levels of germination and vigor, seeds will have reached their top quality and are optimal to be stored.
Seeds are naturally subject to degradation, and their preservation lies in prolonging their deterioration over time. There are three core conditions in preservation during the storage of seeds:
- Package Atmosphere
An oxygen-free atmosphere is critical to avoiding oxidation. Air should be removed by vacuum until there is a concentration of 4% to 8% oxygen inside.
High temperature promotes biological activity, while extremely high temperature (120º F) can eradicate bug danger, but will most certainly spoil the commodity. On the other hand, lower temperature slows biological activity, and extreme values (-4º F) will kill any infestation.
- Relative Humidity (RH)
Generic nutritional tables state that seeds already contain an average of 10% moisture. The correct controlled atmosphere (CA) approach is to keep seeds at 8% moisture content, so that no condensation or germination may occur.
The threats on seed preservation are as follows:
- Both high humidity and temperature
- Contact with water, which causes direct damage and increases the threat of mold/fungal attack
- Insects and pests (birds and rodents) causing direct damage and spillage
- Cross contamination from fertilizers, chemicals, and toxic materials
Preservation of seeds must cover the natural time gap between seed harvest and sowing, will carry over unsold stock from season to season, and will provide buffer stocks to meet fluctuations in demand.
VacQPack has experience in facing several challenges in the preservation of soybean seeds, sesame seeds, and the seeds of other crops, its goal being to keep the seeds’ effectiveness to germinate after storage.
Cold rooms have been an option, but that approach requires heavy investment in facilities and has high energy costs. The VacQPack solution uses temperature to its advantage — even the highest natural storage temperatures are welcomed.