Certification Scheme

Ireland has an independent Certified Seed scheme operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), which covers seed production and marketing for the main agricultural crops, including cereals, grasses, oilseeds, pulses, and potatoes.

The aim of the scheme is to facilitate the development and commercial introduction of better plant genetics into Irish farming systems, thus improving and safeguarding Ireland’s national competitiveness in a fast evolving globalised market.

For example, the certification scheme for cereal seeds involves plant breeders and their agents, grain merchants and seed assemblers, DAFM, and hundreds of Irish cereal growers who annually produce almost 40,000 tonnes of seed grain for the native market. Varieties that successfully make it through Value for Cultivation & Use (VCU) testing in Irish national trials are selected for multiplication by the breeders/seed agents, with the best varieties gaining approval on DAFM's Recommended Lists.

The Recommended Lists are available here on the DAFM Publications page

All fields growing Certified Seed are rigorously inspected by DAFM officials prior to harvest. After harvest, all seed lots and individual varieties are kept separate and closely monitored at the seed intake points. Each seed lot is carefully dried, stored and sampled for disease, purity, and germination capacity. Only seeds that meet the minimum EU standards are certified and approved for sale. It is illegal to trade uncertified seed of any species under EU and Irish law.

For more information about Seed Certification go to The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM) information on their seed certification scheme. They provide a downloadable booklet which contains the protocol for growers of certified seed for combinable crops (click here). You can also learn about their laboratory testing facilities located in Backweston here