Grass Seed Expiration Date?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by RACERB, Mar 4, 2006.


    RACERB LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Hello,i Have A Question,i Was Shopping Today And Found Scott's 20# Bag Of Seed For 15.00 Half Off The Regular Price Of 30.00 It ,but It Had A Expiration Date Of Nov.15,2005,now Is This Seed Any Good?or Will I Have Problems,thanks For Your Help.
  2. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Probably OK.. Might want to put it down a tad heavier. A good way to tell your germination rate is to take a handful of seeds and rap them it a wet paper towel and put them in a cool dark place Keeping the towel moist. In a about two weeks you can count the seeds that germinated vs the seeds that did not. Or just throw it down and hope for the best. I would test them though just so you know if for some reason your project fails.

    It's been awhile since I have tested seed, so if anyone has a better testing method feel free to correct me.
  3. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    Are you sure it wasn't a test date??
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Dept of ag requires all seed held over past the 1st of the yr to be recertified for results thats stated on the tag
  5. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    if ya have the seed tag call scotts an have em do a seed test on that batch of seed all the info is on that tag see ya george
  6. JWTurfguy

    JWTurfguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I'll give you guys a heads up...most seed companies will actually reticket a new expiration date for remaining seed inventory from the previous year.

    I'm not sure how the law reads in regards to retesting (you would hope they're retesting if they're changing the expiration date) but I can tell you for a fact that Scotts retickets after one year (at least, I know for a fact that it happens at Home Depot, because I used to work there and I watched the Scotts guys do it).

    So if you're seeing a 2005 date on a discounted clearance shelf, my guess is that the seed is probably 2 yrs old and can't be legally sold at full price. Why not just spend the extra 15 bucks for good seed? Buyer beware, lol. Best of luck:)
  7. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    they reticket to sell to homeowners who dont know the difference. you said the rite word,, Home Depot!! ha ha ha you get your seed there??
  8. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    If I remember correctly seed degrades at a rate of roughly 2% a yr for the first 5 yrs so if the seed has a 90% germination rate and its 2 yrs old it will still have an 86% germination rate. If the price is cheap enough you would only need to add approx. 4.4% more seed per pd to make up for what might not germinate
  9. Paradise Landscapes

    Paradise Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 959

    I was always told every year it lowers it's seed germination rate.
  10. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    A little insight into the seed industry may be of interest here. It does not directly answer the question, but may help understand the industry.

    I grew up on a seed farm and it still remains in the family (now about 2,500 acres). Most of the crops are perennial ryegrass and tall fescue at this time. I have 80 acres rented out, all perennial seed.

    The seed is harvested in July and August and stored in a large warehouse. The cleaning operation begins at harvest time, but continues through the Winter, into Spring. As it is cleaned and packaged, it is hauled out to other operations where it is mixed, packaged for reselling. The sequence here also depends upon the seed contracts. In some cases, the seed may sit at the warehouse for a long time, until a contract is written, or until a delivery date is scheduled as per contract.

    The operation I know had about half of the 2005 crop processed as of January 1. That may be about 3-4M pounds of seed. The cleaners continue to operate 24/7.

    I'm not positive about how the testing process happens for packaged products that are sold on the shelf. I do know one testing procedure is required before delivery from the farm warehouse. The buyer needs to know the characteristics (e.g. germination, weed content, quality, etc) before it is shipped.

    The tags on the bags will show what season of harvest. Harvest for ryegrasses only happens during a 4-6 week period each season. In other words, a 2005 ryegrass seed product was harvested during July 2005 or Augusts 2005.

    Germination testing can happen multiple times between harvest and the retailer's shelf. However, the percentage can only decrease as time passes.

    I know I can find out more about procedures of testing between harvest and wholesale selling, if anybody wants to know more. It has been many years since I was actively involved at the farm, and procedures have undoubtedly changed to some extent.

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