The Road to Certified Seed

Certified Seed is the cornerstone of many farming operations, and various food and beverage industries. It is a fully traceable, weed-free, guaranteed seed product with superior quality to alternatives and is part of a world-wide quality assurance system.  Irish Certified Seed is produced to the highest standards, providing growers with a guaranteed standard of varietal purity, germination, and phyto-sanitary status.

Certified Seed is an insurance/risk management tool against sub-standard crop establishment, thereby protecting the other investments necessary to produce a profitable crop. Click to download our brochure.

New varieties are submitted on an annual basis to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) for agronomic evaluation, known as VCU (Value for Cultivation and Use) testing.  This ensures varieties are fit for purpose under Irish conditions and will stand up to unique disease challenges.


Varieties are tested for characteristics such as crop yield, disease resistance and grain quality. Additionally, quality tests are undertaken to help identify the most suitable varieties for use as malting barley, milling wheat or food-grade oats – all of which are crucial to Ireland’s valuable food and drinks sector. 

Having completed this VCU process successfully over a three-year period, the best new varieties are then added to the Recommended List. Seeds of these varieties are propagated and brought to market for commercial use by Irish growers.

Irish seed is inspected on a number of occasions during its growing season by Department of Agriculture inspectors. These field inspections allows potential issues to be identified and rectified earlier in the season. Additionally, it gives Irish farmers peace of mind that purchased certified seed has been produced to an excellent quality and purity standard

When harvesting is complete, acceptable seed is then prepared for bagging and certification. During processing, seed is cleaned of weed seeds, small grains, and screenings. Appropriate chemical dressings are applied using state of the art technology and equipment.

Seed is weighed and packed under Department of Agriculture supervision, prior to application of a Department of Agriculture label. A sample of each seed lot is tested, with a final seed lot test report issued by the Department of Agriculture. Certified Blue Label seed is ready for delivery to Irish farmers. A sample of each seed lot is sown in ‘post-control’ plots at Backweston, Leixlip, Co. Kildare.

Certified sales are reported to the Plant Variety Development Office (PVDO), with royalties paid to plant breeders to help ensure breeders continue to bring new and improved varieties to the market.

The processing stage is one of the many elements of the certification process which guarantees the grain buyer with consistent quality. 

The Benefits of using Certified Seed

    1. Guaranteed germination
    2. Consistent quality
    3. Reduced seeding rates
    4. Guaranteed varietal purity
    5. Fully traceable
    6. Independently monitored
    7. Reduced risk of seed borne diseases
    8. Continued cereal genetic improvement